Los Angeles Angels' Early-Season Relief Pitching Struggles a Concern

By Bob Garcia IV
Joe Smith
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2014 season, the Los Angeles Angels were hoping that their offseason moves to revamp the bullpen would fix their relief pitching problems of last year, but through two weeks of the season that has not been the case.

The Halos, through 14 games, possess one of the league’s worst pitching staffs as they rank 23rd in ERA (4.43), have the seventh most runs allowed (67) and are fifth in most walks given up (52). These statistics are similar to last year’s team as they were among the league’s worst in terms of pitching. Things do not appear to be getting better anytime soon as evident by the last two games. They have given up sevens runs on 12 hits with four walks over six innings. Four of those runs allowed were by offseason acquisition Joe Smith.

These type of numbers from the bullpen are quite discouraging given that Los Angeles made moves to improve in that area by signing Smith, who has posted a sub-3.00 ERA over the last three seasons with the Cleveland Indians, and acquired Fernando Salas as part of the trade that involved David Freese. The Angels also had Dane De La Rosa and Michael Kohn returning this season, and a highly motivated Ernesto Frieri ready to leave last year’s struggles behind him.

It was shaping out to be a promising year, but so far, through two weeks of the season, it has been anything but that. Their pitching problems were the primary area of concern in 2013 and if that continues into this year, then any chances of winning the division or even making the playoffs can be thrown out the door. The bottom line is that pitching wins games and championships, and if the Halos don’t fix that problem now, this season could become ugly real fast.

However, with the season still young and the Angels possessing a 6-8 record despite the pitching struggles, there is still plenty of time to turnaround the ship. It must be sooner than later as the further this problem persists into the year, the bigger the hole they will have to dig themselves out of in order to make a run at the postseason. In other words, they must fix their pitching now or things can and will get worse.

Bob Garcia is a writer for Rantsports.com. Follow  him on Twitter @Bgarcia90.  “Like” him on Facebook or add  him to your network on Google.

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