An Oral History on The LA Angels Rotation Being An All-Time Worst Group

Anthony Bemboom, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Anthony Bemboom, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels have been haunted by poor pitching for years now, especially in the rotation.

That has reached a new low this year, with the LA Angels set to become the first team in the history of the MLB without a single pitcher meeting the 100 innings pitched threshold. This was all but confirmed last week when Griffin Canning was shut down for the season.

Part of this was all by design: the Angels knew going into the season their rotation was the weakest link. So they gathered an exceptional offense, an elite bullpen (when not overused), and used as much strategy and planning as they could to help their rotation be as efficient as possible.

But there are some things you just can’t plan for.

Now, we’ll look at how the Angels got here, through bad contracts, injuries, and tragedy.

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Felix Peña (96.1 IP)

When It Was Right: Peña was arguably the best pitcher for the Angels all year. He was apart of the most memorable night of the season. We all remember it, Peña pitched the majority of the combined no-hitter in the team’s first home game after Tyler Skaggs sudden death. After a rough start to the year, he slowly began proving himself as a major bonus to the Angels’ rotation.

Where It Went Wrong: In a fluke incident reminiscent of Garrett Richards in 2014, Peña was covering first base on a ground ball and had an awkward landing. It was later confirmed Peña tore his ACL, and his season was over. Obviously he was closest Halo to reach the 100 innings mark, and surely would have in his next start, but now the focus is on being ready for the 2020 season.

Griffin Canning (90.1 IP)

When It Was Right: Canning looked all the part of his second round draft stock. He had dynamic breaking balls combined with exceptional command of his fastball. At times, Canning was the ace of the staff, showing just how high his ceiling could be. He was one of the best rookie starters in Angels’ history.

Where It Went Wrong: Another one bites the injury dust. Canning went on the IL at the beginning of August, was reactivated, then was shut down for the season after his elbow inflammation returned. His 2019 season was solid and trending upward after a midseason bump, and his 2020 will surely be huge for both Canning and the organization.

Trevor Cahill (89.1 IP)

When It Was Right: Honestly this one is tough. Cahill had one or two good starts for the Angels…maybe? He’s the leader in innings pitched on the active roster, and that’s mostly just because he’s been available and needed to eat innings out of the bullpen.

Where It Went Wrong: The day the Angels signed Trevor Cahill.