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LA Angels: Hard to predict what Hunter Strickland will be for rest of season

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Hunter Strickland (60) is removed by manager Joe Maddon (middle) as catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) looks on in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Hunter Strickland (60) is removed by manager Joe Maddon (middle) as catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) looks on in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Newly acquired relief pitcher for the LA Angels, Hunter Strickland, was designated for assignment on Monday.

Strickland was traded for on May 15th from the Tampa Bay Rays. He was having a career year. In 13 games for the Rays, he had a 1.69 ERA. With the Angels, he’s had a 9.95 ERA in nine games.

It was hard to see it coming, but at the same time, this is who Strickland is.

Hunter Strickland has been a very inconsistent pitcher throughout his career.

I’d love to act like Strickland will be back, and just needs a fresh look and chance to develop in the minors.

The reality is, though, that we’ve seen Strickland have too many ups and downs during his career to bet on anything around his performance.

He was a really impressive pitcher from 2014 to 2017, but didn’t look like his usual self in 2018, almost sporting a 4.00 ERA (3.97).

His ERA in the previous four years was 2.64. Taking a step back in 2018, he took another in 2019, recording a 5.55 ERA.

In 2020, he only pitched in four games (3.1 innings), and gave up three earned runs. 2020 was the most random and irrelevant year in baseball history, but Strickland still didn’t do anything to rid himself of the regressing pitcher he looked like he was becoming.

Then in 2021, he started so strong, only to fall so hard.

I’m rooting for Hunter Strickland, but it’s hard to place faith on a pitcher who’s been so inconsistent throughout his career.

If Strickland plays to his potential, he’s an excellent reliever with tons of playoff experience and two rings to show for it. He’s also dealt with a lot this year, receiving coaching from three different pitching coaches this season alone.

Strickland of course can choose to try to test free agency, and could get some takers there due to his success in the past.

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I wouldn’t jump on him, though, due to his regression these past several years. I think the Angels made the right move, and hopefully he’ll get his head right and go back to being one of the better relievers in baseball.

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