There are some reasons for optimism. After a May 24th loss, the Angels were 22-28. Since then, they’ve been one of the best teams in the American League, going 23-18. Not coincidentally, that stretch has seen dramatic changes to the roster. Gone are Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill from the rotation, and Cody Allen isn’t just gone from the bullpen, he’s out of the organization entirely. The three free agents had been unmitigated disasters, and their demotions were addition by subtraction. In their place, rookie Griffin Canning has been extremely impressive, posting a 3-5 record with a 4.43 ERA. In Canning’s 12 starts, he’s only had two bad ones, giving the Angels some badly needed consistency from a rotation that has produced precious few quality starts. Andrew Heaney is also back from the IL, and those two arms should give the rotation a boost.
The tragic loss of Tyler Skaggs wasn’t just emotionally devastating, it left a hole in the rotation that the team simply cannot fill. Skaggs was the team workhorse; he, Harvey and Cahill were supposed to help lead the rotation, but Harvey’s still looking for his stuff in minor league rehab, and Cahill has been demoted to mop-up duty in the bullpen, where he’s given up 6 runs in four outings. Felix Peña and rookie Jose Suarez have been soaking up innings, but they’ve yet to be effective. For the moment, Angel Manager Brad Asmus looks like he’s just going with Johnny All-Staff every fifth day, but that’s not sustainable, in large part because the starters aren’t going very deep, and the bullpen’s has it’s own issues.
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Aside from Canning and Heaney, there’s not much else there. While Peña can (and has) pitched better, the 21-year-old Suarez has struggled, having been promoted too quickly because of the injuries and ineffectiveness of other pictures. The Angels can only hope that either Cahill or Harvey rediscover something very soon, or that J.C. Ramirez’s recovers from Tommy John surgery goes better than it has been. (It has not been good.) There’s just nowhere near enough starting pitching to push the Angels past Texas or Oakland at this point.