The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have faced some extraordinary pitchers over the last decade, and some have had more success than others.
To say that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have endured a rough decade may be a bit of an understatement. After a tremendous spate of success at the turn of the century, including six playoff appearances, five division titles, and their lone World Series title, the Angels have seen just one postseason appearance since 2010.
The turn from perennial contender to a middle-of-the-pack team has been rough, but it hasn’t been all bad either. The team has seen some personal success stories, including the development of the game’s best player, Mike Trout, and his three Most Valuable Player Awards. They also had an American League Rookie of the Year winner in Shohei Ohtani and had the presence of Albert Pujols during his milestone seasons.
So what have they lacked in recent seasons that set apart the two decades? Pitching.
More than perhaps any other team in the league, the Angels have been hamstrung by an inability to develop or sign the right pitchers to get them over the top. Combined with a seemingly unending string of injuries to the starting staff, the recipe for failure has been carried on the shoulders (and elbows) of the pitching corps.
But what if things go deeper than that. Maybe the Angels have been bitten by matching up against opposing pitchers that have been significantly better than those the decade prior. So with that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to see what pitchers have had the most luck against the Angels since 2010, the arms that Anaheim simply dreaded to see penciled onto the lineup card.
For the sake of argument, we set an innings limit of 50 innings pitched. This helps to eliminate relievers that simply don’t have the same sample size. It also helps to expand it past those that have the advantage of getting more match-ups with the Angels on a yearly basis.
So without further ado, let’s look at the pitchers that have owned the Angels since 2010.
Honorable Mention: Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
It seems almost unfair to list Clayton Kershaw here, as he’s been the best pitcher in baseball during the entirety of this study, and as such, could rightfully be slotted onto any such list for any team in the league. However, that doesn’t discount the merit of including him either.
Kershaw saw his first taste of the Angels in 2009, making two scoreless appearances while striking out eight and allowing just eight hits over his first 12 innings of work against the Halos. That set the stage for a career 6-2 mark with a 2.56 ERA, a 1.009 WHIP, and a 10.2 K/9 mark when facing the Angels.
During the last decade, that has included holding the Angels to a .201/.255/.312 batting line with a wOBA of just .253. His 2.44 FIP against ranks second among all pitchers during that span.
In other words, Kershaw has done to the Angels what he’s done to the rest of the league, and it hasn’t been pretty for Anaheim.