Bullpen injuries put Halos in precarious spot

Updated: September 27, 2015

Mike Trout’s mystifying catch in the 4th inning of last nights contest was for all intensive purposes, the story of the Halos remarkable late season push. Even when the odds seemed to be cruelly stacked against this team, like Mike, they’ve scratched, clawed, and fought their way to another victory. Last night’s victory marks four in a row for the Halos and an impressive (7-3) record in their last ten games. Heading into the series finale this afternoon against the Mariners, the Angels remain on pace for the Wild Card just a half game back of the Astros. With the Astros finally figuring out their in state rival Rangers, that also brings the Angels to within four games of the AL West lead.

However, with every other team jockeying for postseason position, the Angels have also had to fend off their fair share of attrition. Well, the injury bug reared its ugly head again last night as it appeared that closer Huston Street did some damage to his groin, and he was forced to be helped off the field. This is an enormous loss for the Halos, who are already hurting in the bullpen with the loss of set-up man Joe Smith. “It’s not good,” said Halos skipper Mike Scioscia after the game in regards to Street, the AL’s leader in saves. It looks like Street will miss significant time with this injury, which will include the rest of the regular season. This is especially troubling as the Angels hold a significant advantage in one run games this season, going 31-16.

In attempt to hurdle this current setback, Scioscia has stated that he will finish games with a committee of pitchers. I would expect that means a combination of Mike Morin, Trevor Gott, Fernando Salas, and Cesar Ramos. Those four guys have filled in nicely for the aforementioned Smith, but with the increasing importance and pressure of each game, it has yet to be seen if this committee can shut down in the later innings. Now, there was a report in the OC Register that stated Joe Smith has been trying different cleats to help stabilize his sprained ankle while he’s on the mound. If Smith, who’s been out since September 19th, can return within a few days, that will certainly be a big boost for the Halo bullpen.

Sometimes in sports, you get the feeling that a team can do no wrong. No matter who goes out to pitch the 7th, 8th, or 9th, there just seems to be an aura that whoever it is, will be able to get it done. Just like Trout’s outstanding catch, it seems that as long as the ball isn’t hit into the upper deck, there’s a great chance someone will make a play on it. Momentum can overpower any injury issues and this Halo team seems to have found their late season swagger in this final push for October baseball.



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