3 Things to Watch for in Angels Opening Series Against the Athletics

Updated: April 3, 2017

The Angels open up their 2017 season tonight as they face the Athletics in northern California.  Both clubs are predicted to finish either fourth or fifth in the American League West this year but a good start for the Angels could go a long way. Last year the Angels went 11-13 in the month of April and were never able to get above .500 for the rest of the year. This year’s new look Angels squad were able to go 20-14 this spring and I think most Angels fans would gladly take that record to start the season this year. At least then they won’t be out of the AL West race by mid-June.

There are many questions that need to be answered before the Angels can compete this year:

-Will the pitching rotation stay healthy?

-Can the Angles produce any runs from the bottom half of the batting order?

-Can Cam Bedrosian and the mainly new bullpen keep the Angles in close games?

But since those questions can’t be answered for a while, let’s take a look at three things to watch for in this opening series against the A’s.

  1. How will Ricky Nolasco react to being the opening day pitcher?

Nolasco was brought over late last season (along with Alex Meyer) in the trade that sent Hector Santiago to Minnesota. After his arrival in Anaheim, Nolasco went 4-6 with a impressive 3.21 ERA and even more impressive 1.068 WHIP in 73 innings. It will be interesting to see if the right hander can continue his quality numbers tonight and throughout the season. If the Angels can put up some runs for him (Nolasco received 4.5 runs a game behind him last year) and he can keep his ERA and WHIP numbers similar to last year, Nolasco may be great tonight and a pleasant surprise for the entire season.

  1. Will Blake Parker continue his strikeout streak?

Parker came into Angels spring training just hoping to make an impression and secure a spot on the bullpen. Well, he certainly did both. In 12 appearances this spring, Blake struck out 24 batters, including 17 straight to end the spring. Combine that with a 0.73 ERA and two walks during the spring and Parker may be the right handed middle reliever that the Angels have been looking for. After pitching in only 17 games last year, Angels fans (and Parker himself) should be excited to get back on the mound and hopefully we will see him in the series against the A’s. (Blake Parker’s stats courtesy of Baseball America)

  1.  Will Cam Bedrosian successfully step into the closer spot for Huston Street?

With Huston Street starting the season on the DL, Cam Bedrosian will be moved into the closing spot. He spent a little time there last year when Street was hurt, and in nine total save situations he allowed just one run in 24 at bats. Hopefully Bedrosian will be able to get into a game or two this series to see how he reacts to being the team’s closer because many, including myself, think that Cam will be the closer of the future for the Angels and if Street continues to keep getting injured, that future may be sooner than we think.

It goes without saying that the Angles need a good start to the season to help chase away the demons of the previous two season where they found themselves looking up at first place place from the get-go.

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