HomeTeamsAngelsHave The Angels Bullpen Been Their Biggest Problem?

Have The Angels Bullpen Been Their Biggest Problem?

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim recently had a solid AL West road trip winning both series against division foes Texas Rangers, the defending World Series champs, and the Houston Astros and going home with a respectable 4-2 record.

Despite posting a 20-30 record overall with more than a quarter of the season played, the Angels have shown signs of life winning five of their last seven games overall.

With the injuries to their stars Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, the team has stayed competitive and given themselves a chance to win on most nights and their starting pitching has been responsible for that recently.

Tyler Anderson had two very good starts on the road trip, Patrick Sandoval had a quality start, and even Jose Soriano and Griffin Canning have pitched better of late. While it might not make a huge difference as far as standings or even playoff potential, one could make the argument that the Angels could be a better team if their relievers were more consistent.

The Angels’ bullpen has been the worst part of the team all season posting a 4.94 ERA, third-highest in the MLB, and has already surrendered 25 home runs, also third-most in the league.

The Halos can’t even hide behind a narrative that their bullpen is young and inexperienced. It’s filled with veterans like Matt Moore (6.62 ERA), Luis Garcia (5.06 ERA), Carlos Estevez (5.06 ERA, three blown saves), and Jose Suarez (7.11 ERA) who have all struggled to hold leads in the later innings.

A few weeks ago when the Halos faced the St. Louis Cardinals, they were up 4-0, but Cimber, Moore, and Garcia collectively surrendered eight earned runs in the seventh inning and ultimately lost the game for the Angels.

Even on this road trip, their embattled closer Estevez surrendered a walk-off RBI single to Jeremy Pena in the 10th inning of a 6-5 loss to the Astros, continuing his struggles in high leverage moments and getting his third loss of the season.

Manager Ron Washington is remaining positive and supportive of Estevez despite his inconsistencies.

We haven’t given up on him,” Washington said of Estévez. “When the game is on the line and we’ve got a chance to win the game, we’re going to give the ball to Estévez. We’ve just got to ride it out and see where it goes. But as far as us making changes, we’re not making changes.”

The Angels were also dealt a big blow last month when it was announced that right-hander Robert Stephenson, who signed a three-year, $33 million deal this offseason, was going to miss this entire season after undergoing elbow surgery. Stephenson was supposed to be a major part in the Halos’ bullpen as a primary setup man, but his season ended before he threw a single pitch.

There are some bright spots like veteran right hander Hunter Strickland who’s posted a 0.60 ERA in his last 15 appearances, and maybe he can enhance his role in the Halos’ bullpen.

It’ll be up to Washington and his pitching coaches to piece together this bridge in the later innings to avoid giving up these leads late in the game.

The Angels are going to have a hard enough time as it is to win, however, these bullpen issues might be their most glaring problem as they navigate through this difficult season.

Chris Camello
Chris Camellohttps://mlbreport.com/
Chris Camello has been a sports writer, reporter, and podcaster for 11 years covering all of the major sports teams throughout Los Angeles as well as college and high school sports. He currently covers high school football, basketball, and baseball for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and co-hosts as sports podcast called “The Outlet Forum” available on all major streaming platforms.


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