Much has been written about the Los Angeles Angels‘ need to acquire another pitcher before the July 31 trade deadline. If the Halos can’t settle on a starter, they should at least make moves to acquire a solid reliever.
In the meantime, however, Los Angeles can boast at least one pleasant surprise from their relief corps. Scott Downs has been absolutely lights out this season, posting a 1.32 ERA through 27.1 innings. Downs has been especially unhittable for left-handed batters, who have managed just a .188 average with one extra base hit against the southpaw.
The Angels are glad to see Downs return to his 2011 form where he finished with a 1.34 ERA through 53.2 innings.
Unfortunately, Downs does not begin to solve the team’s pitching problem; he rarely pitches a full inning in most of his outings (it’s taken him 40 games to tally the 27.1 innings), and is usually brought in as a situational pitcher to face lefties. This still leaves a lot of work for the Angels’ long relievers. Even so, Downs’ stinginess against left-handed hitters is a crucial asset for the Halos, who have faced, and will continue to face, lefty sluggers throughout the American League such as David Ortiz, Prince Fielder and Robinson Cano. An out in the late game against any one of these hitters could be the difference between a Halo win or loss. At this point in the season, Los Angeles cannot afford to lose any winnable games.
The Angels still need another starting pitcher; that much is indisputable. It helps that Jered Weaver has returned to Cy Young form, but Weaver can only pitch every five games. No matter whom Los Angeles acquires, you can count on seeing Downs take the mound whenever the Halos need an out in the late game against a lefty.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.