Angels Can’t Continue to Rely on Miraculous Comebacks.

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Updated: April 13, 2017

The Angels are definitely off to a hotter start compared to recent years. On the strength of three come from behind victories, the Halos are 6-4, good for first place. For now. A three-run home run in one game. Seven runs in the ninth in another. Coming back from a 5-0 deficit in another. The Angels, by all accounts, should be 4-6 or even 3-7. They’re not, though, and those wins count regardless of how unlikely they are. That starting pitching, though… These last two games against the Texas Rangers are a sign of how those games could or even should have gone, and it’s not pretty.

Back to back 8-3 losses illustrate the heart of the problem for the Halos now. Their pitching is not up to par. Jesse Chavez couldn’t even make it through the fifth, giving up five earned runs, and his ERA now sits at 5.40. Today, Ricky Nolasco only went five innings, giving up five earned runs, as well. His ERA also sits at 5.40. Nolasco’s one start of exactly six innings is the only game this year an Angels’ starter has completed at least six innings. That’s not good. At this point it’s for sure a dead horse, but we’ll keep beating it; the Angels’ starters are not giving the team what they need.

It’s asking too much from your bullpen to expect them to have to pitch four or five innings a game, every game. If you look at every single contender, they all have at least one reliable starter. Someone who you can rely on to give you seven solid innings. Clayton Kershaw. Noah Syndergaard. Chris Sale. Yu Darvish. Corey Kluber. Jake Arrieta. Max Scherzer. You have to have one of those guys, and the Angels just don’t have that person. With Garrett Richards injured and Matt Shoemaker struggling, the Angels are missing that guy. They’re going to need someone like Shoemaker or Skaggs to step up and be that reliable pitcher.

It’s not all bad. The offense is showing some positive signs, particularly a bottom of the order that was straight-up abysmal last season. The defense, led by Andrelton Simmons, Martin Maldonado, and Kole Calhoun, is stellar. The bullpen, even though it’s being overworked, has given the Halos some quality innings nonetheless. The story hasn’t changed, though: the Angels need starting pitching. They need those guys to pitch to their potential. The Angels don’t have a ton of pitching depth, either, so there aren’t a lot of options for them. The five guys they have now are going to need to get healthy and pitch better, because those miraculous comebacks aren’t going to happen every night.

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