Should the Angels be Concerned with their Bullpen Workload?

Updated: April 17, 2017

Tyler Skaggs‘ sterling seven innings on Sunday was the first game an Angels’ pitcher has gone that far. Only two other pitchers have gotten out of the sixth inning. Ricky Nolasco and Matt Shoemaker have each pitched six innings once. In thirteen games, the Angels have gotten six innings or more only three times. That’s not good. That has lead to a heavy workload for an Angels’ bullpen that isn’t exactly full of superstars. That being said, the bullpen has still pitched ably, Sundays’ walkoff loss notwithstanding. You’ve got to wonder, though, how many more four or five inning outings the bullpen can handle before they start to show their wear and tear.

The Angels were able to foresee this, somewhat, as they stocked their bullpen with players like J.C. Ramirez, Bud Norris, and Yusmeiro Petit. Converted starting pitchers, capable of pitching anywhere from two to four innings an outing. That’s all well and good, but if you’re pitching that many innings three or four times a week, it’s going to become a problem. Right now, the Angels are asking a lot of those pitchers. Mike Scioscia says he’s not concerned with his bullpen’s workload this early into the season, but then he pitched Daniel Wright for four innings before sending him back down and has only used Cam Bedrosian for four innings all season. That sounds like a man worried about his bullpen’s innings.

The fact of the matter is that the Angels are not getting the starting pitching they need. We’ve said it at least a million times before; if the Angels are going to contend this season, they’re going to need solid starting pitching. They haven’t got that, and with Garrett Richards already hurt and the signs not very good for his return, they’re going to need ever more from their current starters. So, the answer is yes, the Angels should be concerned for multiple reasons. They’re going to burn out their bullpen for one, which is only going to hurt them going forward. The biggest concern, though, is that the more they use their bullpen, the less they’re getting from the rotation. They need the rotation to go deeper, and the bullpen can use a day or two off.

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