Through the first four weeks of the regular season, the Los Angeles Angels are dealing with a familiar issue with how to perfectly execute a pitching staff but most importantly, having players pitch to their potential.
Spotty performances from the starting rotation will figure themselves out, but with the offense averaging 5.35 runs per game (5th-best in MLB as of April 27), they need to focus on protecting that lead once the game is handed to the bullpen.
The Angels called up top pitching prospect Chase Silseth and his fastball-heavy arsenal to supplement manager Phil Nevin’s staff. After tossing two shutout innings with two punchouts, his long-term usage is still to be determined, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“I think (relief) is a role that could be great for him, but it also could mean he could work into that starting spot too,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “There might be some chances for that. We just felt like we got the best arm that we have going down there and he’s had some success in the major leagues. Love his stuff.”
Silseth topped out at 98.8 mph in his season debut with the Angels, and because he primarily relies on his four-seam, cutter, sinker, and sprinkled-in slider, he might be best served at the backend. Nevin has said he’ll continue to evaluate the young right-hander and won’t place a label on him given he still has a lot of development left in his path:
“If he’s that successful (in relief), if it turns into something like that, you never know what you’re gonna get,” Nevin said. “We’ve seen plenty of guys come into this league as starters and turn into relievers and end up doing some great things in this game. We’ve seen a lot of guys that have come in as relievers and turned into starters and done great things in this game too. It remains to be seen. I just know we have a really talented arm and how I’m gonna use him will just be kind of dictated by what the game is calling for.”
Of the 39 pitches he threw on Wednesday, 20 landed outside of the strike zone. The Angels were playing the Oakland Athletics and he escaped without allowing a hit and walking just two, but until he hones in on his command, Silseth’s high upside stuff will play better in short bursts:
“I’m gonna do whatever they ask me to do, whatever I can do to help the team win,” Silseth said. “Just give it my best. (Relieving) is foreign territory, but it’s still 60 feet, six inches. At the end of the day, that’s what it is.”
The Angels are still void of a set closer and have mostly been running on a closer-by-committee plan until that guy emerges, but they have options to ponder as the season progresses.
José Suarez remaining in Angels rotation
Against the Athletics on Monday, José Suarez turned in a fourth consecutive rough outing to begin his 2023 campaign.
The left-hander allowed seven runs on eight hits in five innings of work against a bottom-five offense and saw his numbers for the year continue to balloon. He now owns an 0-1 record, 10.26 ERA, 8.98 FIP and 2.28 WHIP in 16.2 innings pitched this season.
Nevin reiterated that Suarez needs to improve but won’t remove from the starting rotation for the time being.
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