For years, the stigma surrounding the Los Angeles Angels was that they desperately needed pitching. It hasn’t changed in 2021, despite general manager Perry Minasian’s best efforts. However, after Alex Cobb threw a seven-inning gem against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, it pointed to a pleasantly surprising trend: the Angels have good starting pitchers.
The bullpen is an entirely different story, as they have been among the worst in baseball in the month of May. Whether it’s due to injury, lack of ability, or some combination of the two, it hasn’t been good. But the starters — especially Cobb — are giving signs of hope.
Cobb spoke about the relief he’s felt from seeing his production turn around after spending some time on the injured list with a blister, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It feels great,” Cobb said. “You put so much work in throughout the season and the offseason, in between starts, to go out there and have success and put your team in position to win. When it doesn’t go that way, it’s tough to deal with. When you do go out and do your job, it’s nice to see the work you put in pay off, and you’re able to shake hands after the game.”
Angels manager Joe Maddon also had some things to say about the rotation as a whole, pointing to the great work they’ve done in recent weeks.
“I have a lot of confidence in our rotation,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “I like them. They are good. Any of them that hasn’t shown well to this point will. We have to continue to show faith and support. If they feel our support they will pitch well. I really anticipate it to keep getting better and better.”
The Angels rotation has been especially good in the second half of May. Since May 15, no Angels starter has given up more than four runs, leading to a total ERA of 4.68 in that span. It had been discussed for a while that the Angels starting staff was better than the numbers showed, and that is appearing to be the case.
Now, it’s up to the rest of the team to join them on the path to improvement. The bullpen has had their fair share of issues, and now their offense is struggling too. In three games against the Athletics, they have scored a total of six runs.
Chris Rodriguez and Max Stassi make rehab starts
The Angels could also get some big reinforcements back soon, as Max Stassi and Chris Rodriguez are both on track to return soon. They made rehab starts at Triple-A Salt Lake and could return some time in the next week.