Will the Angels’ Bullpen be a “Royal” Pain This Season?
Opening day, the crack of the bat, the smell of the grass, and the pop of a baseball snapping against a leather glove. Three games into the season, and the Angels are already 1-2. It is still extremely early. So to say that doomsday is coming is a little rash. However, for those that remember 2010 the Angels’ collapse began with the bullpen, granted I realize that the Angels have started the season with four players on the disabled list which two of them are pitchers; Joel Piñeiro a starter, and Scott Downs a reliever. Regardless of who is on the disabled list, the Angels bullpen should be able to hold a lead given to them by stellar performances by the starting pitchers. In the opening game, Jared Weaver was spectacular and the bullpen was able to do its job on that particular day, since then it’s been the Angels’ bullpen who have blown relatively easy mathematical victories the last two games. First, a walk off home run given up by Michael Kohn yesterday, and then today the run given up by Kevin Jepsen which gave the Kansas City Royals the victory five runs to four.
It is becoming apparent that the Angels are faced with uncertainty in the bullpen this season. Will the bullpen be able to hold leads that a much improved Angel offense provides? Will the bullpen be able to help the starting rotation’s record accurately reflect how good the starting rotation will be this season? Who will be the Angels’ closer? Fernando Rodney? Who has looked pretty shaky so far this season, Michael Kohn? Jordan Walden? Rich Thompson? Hisanori Takahashi? Jason Bulger? I realize it’s still very early in the season, in Mike Scioscia is still trying to put the team together, however, with the exception of Walden and Takashi I haven’t seen anybody in the Angels bullpen that can reassure me that the game is ours.
The question thus becomes can the bullpen get it together before our stellar rotation or our hot bats and our Gold glove outfield defense cools off? Torii Hunter has recovered his power, much of that has to do with the acquisition of Vernon Wells both guys have me excited mutually on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I feel that if we can get our bullpen to work right we should be able to contend for an American League West title this year if not more.
I look forward to writing more about wins this year and what went right, instead of what went wrong. Only time will tell. Go Angels!