Through his first six starts of this season, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning had a 6.13 ERA in 29.1 innings of work. I was a bit more patient with him over other struggling pitchers because Canning had been on the Injured List since July of 2021 before being activated in April of this season, but was starting to lose a bit of patience after an uneven outing in Baltimore.
The ability to pitch has always been there for Canning. He has good stuff and decent command of it. His issue this season has been avoiding the big inning. It felt like whenever one thing would go poorly against Canning, things would spiral out of control. Reid Detmers is similar to Canning in this regard.
In his last two starts, Canning has completely flipped the script and has put together two solid outings for an Angels team that has really needed him to step up.
LA Angels pitcher Griffin Canning is pitching well thanks to the emergence of his change-up
Canning is primarily a four-pitch pitcher. He throws his fastball 32.6% of the time, his slider 31.5% of the time, his change-up 22.3% of the time, and his curveball 12.5% of the time. Baseball Savant has Canning with a sinker as well which they say he's thrown a total of eight times or 1.2%.
He's generally been a guy who allows a good amount of contact and hits, but limits the hard contact. His fastball and slider are the pitches he uses the most, but they've been hit a decent amount. His change-up, especially of late, is what's made him really effective.
In 2021 Canning threw that pitch 21.3% of the time so there isn't really a difference, but opponents hit .276 in 2021 against that pitch compared to their .208 figure this season. The change-up has been particularly effective in his last two starts.
When facing the Red Sox at home, Canning delivered his best start of the season. He went seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He did walk three but struck out five and threw just 91 pitches in the Angels victory.
Six of the 21 outs Canning recorded were on the change-up. He did not allow a single hit against the pitch. This came against one of the best offenses in the league.
His last time out wasn't quite as good, but Canning still delivered six innings and allowed just three runs against a capable White Sox offense on the road. While the three runs could've been a bit better, Canning struck out nine batters which is one shy of tying his career-high, and he was in command all night except for a couple of fastballs the White Sox hit for home runs.
Canning threw his change-up 28% of the time, more than any other pitch, and had tremendous success with it. He generated 16 swings against the pitch, nine of which were whiffs. They put just three of them in play, all outs. That pitch had the Sox off balance all night.
Canning has upped his change-up usage in each of his last two starts, and that happen again his next time out. Having this weapon serve as Canning's best pitch has worked wonders for him in his last two starts, and could help him be a consistent starter in the back of the Angels rotation.