Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto is frequently criticized for piecing together an under-performing big-name roster. The Halos’ offensive woes are normally the topic of discussion, but it is in fact their starting pitching that has made their Opening Day series with the Cincinnati Reds so taxing.
Jered Weaver started the first game of the series for the Angels, and wasn’t overpowering or unhittable, though he was classic Weaver. He did exactly what it took to keep the dangerous Reds lineup at bay, and his no-decision led to the Angels’ first win of the season.
Then came lefty C.J. Wilson, who has never looked completely comfortable in an Angels uniform since signing a monstrous contract in 2012. Wilson dances around hitters with off-speed pitching that is often uncontrollable. Los Angeles nearly came back to win Wednesday’s matchup despite Wilson’s struggles, but the Reds won in the bottom of the ninth inning on an Albert Pujols error.
The Angels rotation is a complete mess and without Weaver as the ace, Los Angeles would struggle to fool any batting order in the major leagues. In the rubber match of the three-game series, Joe Blanton went 5.0 innings, allowing four earned runs and three home runs to the Reds.
The Angels finally looked awake at the plate – Eric Aybar, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and Pujols all had doubles — but Blanton made it absolutely impossible for them to gain a lead. After Blanton in the rotation sits veterans Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson, both of whom carry their share of question marks.
It’s easy to look at the Angels’ recently acquired superstars as the problem in the opening series. Los Angeles’ starting pitching, however, is making it impossible for their offense to gel.
John Engel is a Pac-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.