One of the main reasons why the Los Angeles Angels missed out on a playoff berth last season was due to their inconsistent bullpen. Outside of the acquisition of Sean Burnett and the disabled Ryan Madson, the Angels really did not go out and acquire a big name reliever. But with the 3-1, 13-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds, some Angels fans can exhale for one day.
Once Jered Weaver departed after pitching six solid innings, the Angels used six different relievers to finish the game the game off. Over the course of those seven innings, those six relievers only allowed one hit, three walks and struck out nine. Lastly, out of those six pitchers, only one (Sean Burnett) was not on the team last season, and he only pitched for a 1/3 of an inning.
There is no doubt that the Angels will score runs in 2013. Even if Mike Trout comes back down to earth or Josh Hamilton feels the pressure of a big contract, they still have a lineup that can score enough runs to be in the top half of the league. Ergo, the offense should not be an issue if the Angels miss the playoffs. If they miss the playoffs again, it will be due to their pitching staff. However, if they get consistent efforts out of their bullpen like they did on Opening Day, the Angels will be a very dangerous team all season long, living up to their preseason hype.
While players like Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo matter, their bullpen holds the keys to the castle.