The Los Angeles Angels have acquired RHP Hunter Strickland from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Strickland has been one of the best bullpen arms on the Rays this season, and he can provide help for a desperate Angels relief crew. In 13 games during the month of May, the Angels bullpen has a whopping 7.35 ERA, allowing 11 home runs and 35 walks. For reference, the same crew allowed 10 home runs and 37 walks for a 4.34 ERA in 24 games in April.
Strickland has been somewhat inconsistent throughout his career, but the Angels are banking on him to continue the production he’s had in the early part of the 2021 season. He has pitched in 16.0 innings over 13 games, and the results have been remarkable.
He’s allowed 14 hits and six walks in 16.0 innings, leading to just four runs and three earned runs. His ERA is just 1.69, in addition to tossing 16 strikeouts and holding a 1.25 WHIP.
Even if he is unable to match this type of production for the whole season, he can still provide help for what has statistically been one of the worst bullpens in the Major Leagues. And the move comes after another game in which the bullpen cost the Angels a win.
The Halos held a 3-2 lead against the Boston Red Sox on Friday going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With the bullpen only needing to get nine outs, they were unable to get even two before allowing the two runs necessary for the Red Sox to take the lead back.
They wound up losing 4-3 and dropping to 16-21, something that could be considered a low point given that they were once again leading late in the game. Hopefully, Strickland is just the remedy the bullpen needs to hold leads instead of blowing them.
Angels make major lineup change
The Angels also made a significant change to their offensive order for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox. David Fletcher, who has batted lead-off in every single game he’s played in this season, was moved all the way down to the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
While he likely won’t be a permanent No. 9, the move does signal that the team is aware of his struggles and knows he needs to figure it out before he can bat in the No. 1 spot again. Taylor Ward took his place for the time being.