Grading the 2013 Los Angeles Angels: Pitching
As the 2013 mercifully winds down, the Los Angeles Angels will have a long offseason ahead of them. Not only may manager Mike Scioscia no longer grace the clubhouse with his rotund presence, but the Angels will also have plenty of decisions to make on the personnel front.
It may be quicker to discuss what’s gone right with this team rather than what’s gone wrong. One of the few notable positives for the Halos has been the consistently excellent play of lefty C.J. Wilson, who enters his final start of the season with a 17-7 record and a 3.36 ERA. His $11 million salary in 2013 looks a lot more reasonable than it did last year, when he walked 91 batters and didn’t even average six innings per start.
Other than Wilson, however, Los Angeles’ pitching has been a complete disaster. Perennial ace Jered Weaver missed most of the first two months of the season due to injury, while Joe Blanton (2-14, 6.04 ERA) and Tommy Hanson (4-3, 5.66 ERA) pitched themselves right out of the rotation.
The Halos did see some good things from Jason Vargas (9-7, 4.01 ERA) and Garrett Richards (5-3, 3.58 ERA since he took over Blanton’s spot), though Vargas also spent significant time on the DL.
The bullpen was worse, if anything. The Angels lost several relievers to injuries and frequently blew leads thanks to poor relief pitching. What’s more, they traded Scott Downs – their most reliable reliever — right before the trade deadline. Ernesto Frieri nearly lost the closer job thanks to his poor play, while Dane De La Rosa (6-1, 2.96 ERA) will be the only relief pitcher who can be proud of the way he pitched in 2013.
It’s clear that Los Angeles will do everything in its power to land a pitcher by Opening Day next year. At this point, only the first three spots in the rotation seem set (Weaver, Wilson and Richards will take those), while the last two will depend on what moves the Halos are able to make.
Until that happens, Angel fans will remember just how much pitchers let this team down.