The Los Angeles Angels have just two goals during their season-ending series with the Seattle Mariners. The first is ruining Seattle’s chances of finishing a miracle playoff run, and the second is getting one last look at their team before making decisions for 2022.
With those two things in mind, it’s hard to imagine Friday night going any better for the Angels. In a playoff atmosphere, the Angels went into Seattle and won a 2-1 pitcher’s duel, the type of game L.A. has struggled to win all season long.
Meanwhile, Jose Suarez was excellent, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five over 5.0 innings pitched. Even better than Suarez excelling and the Angels winning, their only run-scoring hit was a two-run double by rookie Brandon Marsh.
Joe Maddon was particularly happy with Suarez, saying that a spot in the 2022 starting rotation is all but his at the moment, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“He’s definitely earned the right to come in and be part of the rotation,” Maddon said. “It’s pretty much his to lose.”
Suarez’s final numbers in 2021 showed significant improvement from years past. In 98.1 innings, he held a 3.75 ERA, a 1.231 WHIP, a 119 ERA+, and 85 strikeouts to 36 walks. The young pitcher spoke about his season following the win.
“I’m really happy I’ve gone out there and done my job,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “I want to be part of the rotation. I’m happy I’ve been pitching well.”
“I really like pitching in an atmosphere like that,” Suarez said. “I really liked the pressure I put on myself. I like when the fans are yelling at me, even if it’s bad words. I like the whole experience.”
Going into 2022, it feels as though only Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, and Suarez are firmly in the rotation. The other two — or potentially three — spots will likely be determined through free agency or trade.
The Angels also managed to make life slightly more difficult for the cinderella Mariners. Going into the game, they were tied for the second Wild Card spot with the Boston Red Sox. Now, they are tied with the Toronto Blue Jays one game behind the Red Sox.
In order to have a chance at the playoffs, they’ll need to win at least one more game than the Red Sox over the final two days of the regular season.
Mike Trout looking forward to big offseason
Trout is the latest Angels figurehead to speak about the importance of the 2022 offseason. He, like everyone else, is fully aware that the Angels only have three solid starting pitchers right now. Because of that, he’s excited for what he labeled a big offseason for the franchise.