Very little has gone right for the Los Angeles Angels since the trade deadline. Angels fans, filled with cautious optimism in the wake of the team's push to contend, are now left pondering an uncertain present and future in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
While it's difficult to feel good about anything in Angels-land right now, one player has burst onto the scene in a big way. Chase Silseth, who began the season as a relief pitcher before being sent to the minors, has been a revelation in three starts since being called back up, striking out 26 batters in under 18 innings.
Silseth has dazzled with a five-pitch repertoire that includes a nasty splitter and an increased reliance on his filthy slider. He's given up only four runs in three starts since being called up, all of which have come on solo homers.
Following wins against the Yankees and Braves, Silseth settled for a no-decision against the Mariners after seven strong innings, doing his best to stop the bleeding during what turned out to be a four-game sweep that effectively killed the Angels season.
Outside of Shohei Ohtani, Chase Silseth has been the lone Angels bright spot in the past two weeks.
The additions of C.J. Cron, Randal Grichuk, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez were made in part to show Shohei Ohtani that the team was serious about winning while simultaneously boosting the Angels' chances of reaching the playoffs this year. Obviously, this hasn't panned out, though it's not fair to put the blame completely on these new additions.
Lopez has been effective, while Grichuk and Cron have had a middling impact. Giolito, on the other hand, got rocked by the Braves in his last outing after a so-so first start with the team. Thought to be the clear #2 starter behind Ohtani, it's instead been Silseth who has filled that role.
The Angels haven't been able to overcome a myriad of injuries to some of their best players, and that's the real reason this season has gotten away from them. Though it was exciting to see the team make a push at the deadline, that excitement has quickly given way to misery.
The Angels may have had visions of the 2021 Braves, another team that made a trade deadline push against long odds. Just as the Angels have been without Mike Trout and others, the '21 Braves went all-in despite already losing Ronald Acuna, Jr. for the year. Atlanta, of course, turned their season around and went on an improbable World Series run, in the process providing fool's gold for future mediocre teams at the trade deadline.
It remains to be seen how damaging the Angels' ill-fated attempt to contend this year is to the future of the franchise. Silseth's ascension isn't going to save this season, and it won't single-handedly keep Ohtani in town, but at least his presence provides hope to a fanbase that sorely needs some right now.