Poor bullpen management, lack of offense cost Angels in home opener

Apr 3, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Phil Nevin (88) pulls Los Angeles
Apr 3, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Phil Nevin (88) pulls Los Angeles / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels Home Opener was going according to plan. The Red Carpet, amazing. The player introductions gave me the chills. The Big A was packed to the brim with Angels fans. Mike Trout hit a booming two-run homer on the first pitch he saw to get the Angels off to an early 2-0 lead. Things were going so well, until they weren't.

The Angels fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 in a game I believe they should have won.

LA Angels lose winnable game at Home Opener

The Angels were up 3-1 when Patrick Sandoval's night came to an end. The Angels' southpaw was brilliant, going six innings and allowing one run on six hits. He only struck out two, but he walked just one and after looking very amped up to begin the night, settled in quite nicely. The Angels couldn't have asked for much more in front of a sellout crowd against a really formidable Toronto offense.

The issue, once again, was what came up after the starting pitcher was pulled. After giving up a leadoff single, Matt Moore got the next two batters out before getting pulled. The Angels brought in Jimmy Herget to face George Springer and Bo Bichette. This backfired in the worst way possible.

Moore last season held right-handed hitters to a .165/.282/.255 slash line with three home runs in 220 plate appearances. This compared to the .243/.310/.324 slash line lefties had against him. Moore might throw left-handed, but he was better against righties.

Springer slashed .271/.344/.477 against righties last season compared to .252/.336/.452 against southpaws. Bichette slashed .295/.335/.470 against righties last season compared to .262/.322/.467 against lefties.

Moore was better against righties, while Springer and Bichette were worse against lefties. Nevin opted to bring in a righty to face them, and I still don't understand why.

Nevin's explanation doesn't make any sense either. Springer has homered off of Moore, but it wasn't even last season. He homered against him back in 2018 when Moore was a starting pitcher. Springer has two hits in eight at-bats against Moore in his career.

The bullpen management was poor in my opinion, but it's hard to win games you only have three hits in. The Angels scored two runs on the Trout two-run homer. Other than two Shohei Ohtani hits, the offense was lifeless.

This felt like another one of those 2022 games that the Angels have to limit. The starting pitching was great, but the offense and bullpen didn't show up.

Hopefully the Halos can bounce back and win the next one.

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