A five game losing streak is bad, but what is even worse is the Angels free fall in the American League West. Today is cinco de Mayo and the Angels will face an old friend John Lackey, somebody that was a little too happy to put on that Red Sox uniform in the off-season. The stability in the Angels’ starting rotation is sorely missed, however with the addition of Joel Piñeiro, Lackey’s departure from the Angels is minimized.
I believe the issue right now is the bullpen, the starters seem to be doing the best they can, as evident Ervin Santana’s seven strikeouts last night, but the bullpen can’t seem to hold the lead. Kevin Jepsen along with Fernando Rodney are the only bright spots in the Angels’ bullpen this season, a bullpen that was highly touted to be one of the deepest if not the deepest in the Major Leagues. Kevin Jepsen’s wild performance makes me question weather the Angels have the bullpen at all. I don’t think I don’t think that the team can get far with an okay starting rotation and only one solid member of the bullpen in Rodney, six solid players on the pitching staff just won’t get it done and now with Joe Saunders possibly being sent to the bullpen, the problem is increased exponentially.
The offense needs to find its groove, with the pitching staff struggling, the offense needs to find a way to keep the team within striking distance of a victory. The bullpen needs to be reorganized by mixing and matching different pitchers in different situations into a positive outcome is generated. I will say yet again, Fernando Rodney needs to be the Angels’ closer, Brian Fuentes the setup man and the backup closer.
With John Lackey on the mound tonight, runs will be hard to come by the Angels need to keep mistakes to a minimum if they expect to leave Boston with two victories before they head to Seattle. The bullpen will need to find a way to keep them in the game until the offense can ignite. Joel Piñeiro will need to match Lackey pitch for pitch and the Angels defensively will need to keep errors to a minimum.
The Angels can be competitive and one can never count out a Mike Scioscia led team, he is the best manager in all of baseball. However, the Angels will need to tweak the team dynamics before the division runs away from them.