Angels’s Severely Shorthanded Bullpen Shows Cracks Again.

Updated: May 4, 2017

We won’t get into the full extent of pitching injuries the Angels are enduring and why. That’s an article for another day. We will, however, get into what’s happening to an overworked and overstretched bullpen, especially after last night’s 8-7 loss to the Seattle Mariners, when the Mariners scored four runs in the bottom of the eight to come back and win. The Angels are missing their three best bullpen arms, and that has pushed pitchers like Blake Parker and Bud Norris into roles they really have no business being in. After Norris blew the save on Tuesday, the Angels came back and won in extra innings. Last night is a better indicator of what the Angels can expect if they don’t get their pitchers back and healthy.

The Angels had three pitchers vying for the closer role this spring. Huston Street, Cam Bedrosian, and Andrew Bailey all closed games for the Halos last season, and each one took over because of an injury. They’ve pitched nine innings between the three of them this season. None of the three is expected to be back any earlier than the end of this month or early June. In the meantime, the Angels are being forced to roll with their fourth or fifth best options in crucial situations. Having Bud Norris as your closer is not optimal. On Tuesday, he blew the save after he couldn’t get a single lefty out, and having already used Jose Alvarez, just didn’t have a better option.

Last night, the Angels turned to Blake Parker in the eighth, and he promptly gave up four runs to blow the game. Now, it can’t all be blamed on Parker. He was victimized by some sloppy defense, and the Angels’ mistakes have been frequent and well-documented. Maybe Mike Scioscia stuck with Parker too long, but it wasn’t like Parker was getting hammered. He struck out Nelson Cruz, then was victimized by that poor defense, missed on some close pitches on a crucial walk, and gave up a broken-bat, bloop single that tied it.

You could make the argument Andrew Bailey or Cam Bedrosian would not have found themselves in that situation, and you’re probably right, but you just never know what can happen. The point is that these are the outcomes you can expect when you’re rolling with a severely shorthanded bullpen. Parker has still been pretty solid for us. Norris is a decent bullpen piece, just not as the closer. Brooks Pounders is… well, Pounders shouldn’t be on a major league roster. Deolis Guerra has been decent, though. Just not at the back end of a bullpen. The Angels are once again dealing with significant injury, and need these players to come back quickly. Otherwise, they can expect more losses just like last night’s.

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