The Los Angeles Angels expecting anything from Griffin Canning this season couldn't reasonably be done considering everything the 27-year-old has been through the last couple of years.
Griffin Canning looked like a legitimate piece of the future for the Angels, as in the shortened 2020 season he had a 3.97 ERA in 11 starts. He even took home a Gold Glove. Unfortunately, that success didn't transfer over to the following season as Canning had an ERA of 5.60 through 14 appearances (13 starts) before being sent back to the minors in July.
Canning pitched well in his one start for AAA Salt Lake before landing on the IL with a back injury. That stress fracture in his lower back cost him not only the rest of the 2021 campaign, but all of 2022.
Entering this season, the last time Canning pitched in a big league game was July 2, 2021. He had allowed six runs in just 2.2 innings against the 52-110 Orioles. The last time he was effective was that shortened 2020 season. Expecting much of anything from him this season couldn't realistically be done, but Canning had himself a really nice season.
Griffin Canning finishes off strong comeback season with quality start vs. playoff-hopeful Rangers
Canning came to Spring Training without a job locked in. He was fighting for the sixth starter job against the likes of Tucker Davidson, Jaime Barria, and Chase Silseth. Canning won the job, but was placed on the IL with a groin strain, the latest frustrating injury development for that right-hander. Fortunately the injury was minor, and Canning was able to make his first start in mid-April. He never looked back.
Canning's 7-8 record with a 4.32 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts) might not jump off the page, but most of the times he took the mound this season he gave the Angels a chance to win. That's really all you can ask for out of a back-end starter, especially after missing a full season.
Canning never allowed more than five runs in a start, and he only allowed five to score three times. More often than not he'd flirt with a quality start and keep the Angels in any given ballgame. He even had some dominant showings like his six scoreless innings at Coors Field and his seven shutout frames against the Red Sox.
The right-hander added another quality start to his ledger with six strong innings against the playoff-hopeful Rangers who possess one of baseball's strongest lineups. He's firmly established himself as a member of the Angels 2024 rotation as they'll look to get back to where they were in 2022.