The resurgence of Chase Silseth has been a welcomed storyline over a difficult few weeks for the Los Angeles Angels. The second-year starter made his fourth start since returning from the minor leagues on July 19, defeating the Houston Astros on Sunday with five scoreless frames in a 2-1 final for L.A.
He allowed four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in those five frames and collected his third victory in four starts. Silseth has now pitched 22.2 innings since July 19 and has an ERA of 1.59 with a WHIP of 0.84. He’s had a case to be one of the Angels’ best pitchers in that span.
Silseth has been big on the mental changes he made during his stint in the minors this season, but a complete overhaul in his pitch selection — removing the cutter and focusing on the fastball, slider and splitter — has also been a contributor.
The Angels starter spoke about what he believes is the biggest factor in his recent success after the Astros victory, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Being able to land the slider,” Silseth said. “Be more consistent with the splitter, being on the plate and being able to land it in the zone to get a little bit more chase, because they have to honor it if it’s in the zone. And just fastball command. Getting my fastball where I need it to be and not really leaving it in spots where it can get damaged.”
Angels manager Phil Nevin had a much simpler explanation for what’s been going on with Silseth.
“That’s what’s turned him into what he is now: strikes,” Nevin said.
Silseth has thrown strikes on 66.0% of his pitches since becoming a starter on July 19. In the 15.2 innings he pitched in the first two months of the season, that figure was just 59.0%. He’s also seeing an increase in swinging strikes, going from nine to 15% between the two stints.
Prior to Sunday, Silseth stopped himself from getting too confident or comfortable in his situation. Now, he may have formally cemented a spot in the rotation as the Angels plan out the rest of the season.
Shohei Ohtani skipping next start
Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is skipping his start on Wednesday against the Texas Rangers as he deals with arm fatigue. He plans to make his next regularly scheduled start against the Cincinnati Reds in Anaheim, and the Angels remain undecided on their plans for Wednesday.
It’s possible Griffin Canning, who was activated from the injured list on Sunday, could be the starter in his place.