Alex Cobb is one of several pitchers on the Los Angeles Angels roster that is emblematic of the bad luck that has befallen their staff this season. At his best, Cobb has been incredible, striking out 10 batters in a single outing. At his worst, he couldn’t even make it out of the third inning. Now, he sits on the injured list, yet another thing that has defined the Angels in recent seasons.
The Angels rank towards the bottom in many of the standard pitching stats. As of May 10, the Halos are third-to-last in ERA, second-to-last in walks allowed, seventh-to-last in opponent batting average, and third-to-last in WHIP. However, the 2021 pitching crew — unlike past seasons — may have reason for hope.
Most of their hope comes down to FIP, or fielding-independent pitching, which essentially tracks a pitcher’s ERA solely based on what they can control, leaving out defensive errors and other miscues. The Angels rank 13th in FIP and ninth in expected FIP.
This is the main statistic that convinced Cobb that the Angels are a far better pitching staff than some of the numbers may show, according to Bill Shaikin of The L.A. Times:
“I feel like we’ve pitched a lot better than what our numbers show,” Angels starter Alex Cobb said.
“I think we need to do a better job of not walking people, controlling the running game, things of that sort. But, all in all, I think the pitching has been pretty good.”
The Angels pitchers — including Cobb — are far from perfect. However, there are some signs that perhaps a positive regression to the mean could be coming. This can only happen, though, if they clean up the defensive mistakes.
The Angels still lead the league in errors and are dead last in fielding percentage. If they can even become middle of the pack in both of those areas, it could cause a noticeable change in the outcome of some of their closer games.
For now, Cobb specifically is focused on returning from the injured list as quickly as possible while the team focuses on bigger fixes with a divisional series against the Houston Astros coming up.
Bullpen shines in win over Dodgers
The Angels took home a series win against the L.A. Dodgers, despite an excellent game from Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer. They were able to do this because of a phenomenal afternoon from the bullpen.