To say Opening Day was frustrating for Los Angeles Angels fans would be an understatement. The Angels lost a game they absolutely should have won 2-1 at the hands of the lowly Oakland Athletics.
Fortunately, this is only the first game of 162 so there's plenty of time to right the ship, but boy, does this loss bring back bad memories of last season. The Angels didn't score enough and couldn't hold a lead. Just like last season, the starting pitching shined while the rest of the team faltered.
There's no reason to overreact, but there are three big takeaways to take from this game.
1) The LA Angels bullpen is going to be an issue
The bullpen is not the only reason that the Angels lost this game, but it certainly didn't help. Shohei Ohtani departed with a lead after delivering six shutout innings. That's a game the Angels just have to have, especially against this opponent.
The Angels turned to Jimmy Herget who delivered a scoreless seventh against the bottom of the Athletics order. To my surprise, Aaron Loup was the choice for the eighth inning. Matt Moore had a rough spring but he was a lockdown reliever for Texas last season, I had expected him to get the eighth.
Moore was not brought into the game, instead, it was Aaron Loup who looked better in the spring than Moore but was nowhere near as effective in the regular season. The Angels southpaw coughed up the lead and was extremely critical of how he pitched.
The most embarrassing performance of his career is probably a bit of a stretch, but Loup was not good. Loup gave up the tying run and Ryan Tepera allowed his inherited runner to score later in the inning. These are two veterans who the Angels gave a lot of money to last offseason who just have to pitch better. Tepera did generate a huge double play ball to keep the Angels in it, but the bullpen faltered.
The Angels have a bunch of relievers capable of getting outs but lack the shutdown reliever. Someone like Emmanuel Clase, Edwin Diaz, or Josh Hader. Just someone to turn to when you need to lock down a win. that will continue to haunt them.