This one problem is plaguing the Angels in 2024 and it needs to be fixed

Angels pitchers have to get off to a better start.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Griffin Canning / John McCoy/GettyImages

It's no surprise that the Los Angeles Angels' pitching staff has let them down during the early part of the 2024 season. It's a tale that has haunted this franchise for what seems like decades. The Halos have failed time and time again to field a solid starting rotation. But this year's group of starters is better than some fans may want to acknowledge.

Tyler Anderson has looked terrific during his first three starts of the season. The veteran owns a 1.47 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Fellow lefty Reid Detmers looks like the ace that LA's fanbase has been hoping for. Detmers is 3-0 to begin the year with a 1.04 ERA. Detmers' 26 punch outs rank fourth in the AL this season.

But while Anderson and Detmers deserve to celebrated, the trio of Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, and more recently Jose Soriano have been abysmal to begin the 2024 season (though Sandoval rebounded on Monday night against the Rays). Those three hurlers have a collective 9.00 ERA, but that doesn't tell the whole story. If the Angels' starters could just get through the first inning, everything else might fall into place.

The LA Angels starting rotation has the highest ERA in the 1st inning

The Angels have fallen behind early and often this season. The Halos are now 8-8 through 16 games and have allowed 16 earned runs during the first inning. The biggest culprit is Canning's six earned runs allowed in the first frame during his three starts.

Canning is one of those rare pitchers who actually gets better as the game goes along. While most pitchers are burned the second and third times through the order after opposing batters get a better understanding of what the pitcher is throwing, Canning shows improvement. The first time through the order, opponents are hitting .458/.500/.1.208, only to turn around later in the game and hit just .231/.258/.308. Maybe it's time for Angels manager Ron Washington to run out an opener ahead of Canning.

Perhaps Canning, Sandoval, and Soriano can all learn a thing or two from Detmers. The former first-round pick is the only Angels starter who hasn't allowed a runner to dent the plate during the first inning this season.

Keeping those early runs off the board will certainly help LA's chances of winning ball games this season. The Angels starting rotation ranks about in the middle of the pack in most significant categories, but no team has a higher ERA than the Angels (9.00) during the first inning this season. That has to change if the Angels hope to contend in 2024.

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