Bullpen struggles prove killer in Angels loss to Astros
By Evan Desai
While the bullpen is not the only unit that struggled tonight, the relievers let the Angels down when they needed them most.
The Los Angeles Angels were all tied up in the eighth until the bullpen completely ripped the wheels right off.
After Shohei Ohtani‘s dominant performance, Aaron Slegers and Alex Claudio struggled.
Slegers came in first and walked the leadoff batter, and left the inning with two runners on base. In came Claudio, who gave up a single to Michael Brantley that scored Jose Altuve. Two batters later, with two outs, Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run home run to put the Astros in front by 4 runs.
Claudio was taken out for Noe Ramirez, who walked the first batter he faced, gave up a base hit, and then retired the next batter for the third out.
None of the relievers used today looked sharp. It was unlike yesterday’s win, when the bullpen really showed out.
The bullpen has struggled this year for the Halos, and is part of why the Angels have the third-worst team ERA in the MLB at 5.10.
Andrew Heaney takes the mound tomorrow to start for the Angels. He’s been decent this year, sporting a 4.11 ERA in his six starts.
The reason for optimism with him on the mound tomorrow is due to his success against the Astros earlier this season. In 6.1 IP, he gave up just one earned run, and struck out 10 in his start at the Astros earlier in the year.
The reason for pessimism, however, is that Ohtani also gave up just one earned run today while striking out 10, and the bullpen obviously let him down.
The offense was just as disappointing, only recording three total hits and one run, but the bullpen needs to shut it down tomorrow to secure a series win.
Back-to-back dominant starts from Heaney would be huge for the starting rotation’s confidence and momentum moving forward, but two losses in dominant starts from Heaney would be a let down for him and the rest of the clubhouse.