After five seasons without a major league appearance, Ben Rowen is getting an opportunity as a part of the Los Angeles Angels bullpen. He has pitched in four of the Angels games this season, and his numbers have given manager Joe Maddon something to think about as they assess their relief crew moving forward.
In 6.1 innings pitched this season, Rowen has allowed six hits and one earned run. He has walked just one batter via a hit by pitch, and has posted two strikeouts. This has led him to a 1.42 ERA and a 0.947 WHIP. With regard to a shaky Angels bullpen, Rowen has been one of the more consistent arms.
To this point, he hasn’t necessarily been brought in for high leverage situations. 2.1 of his innings pitched came in the 16-2 blowout loss to the Houston Astros. However, Maddon is keeping him on the roster, and may be looking to give him more opportunities, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Look at the the body of work he’s presented,” Maddon said. “It’s really good. He’s not just going out there filling up outs and innings. He’s done a great job. So maybe just with more opportunity, he’ll go out and even play better.”
Maddon also said that Rowen’s delivery — mostly submarine or sidearm — is easier on his body, so he might only need one day off before he’s available to pitch again.
It’s unlikely that Rowen surpasses guys like Mike Mayers, Chris Rodriguez, or even Aaron Slegers in the high leverage situations. However, this could mean that we see more of Rowen in upcoming games. A 51-pitch outing against the Astros showed that he has some longevity, something that’s always important for relievers who aren’t as reliant on the strikeout.
Given some of the struggles from the bullpen early in the season, Maddon will certainly do some experimenting on various looks and options to try and find a combination of players that works. If they can have that with Rowen, it would be big for the Halos as they look to contend in what could be a crowded AL West picture.
Mike Trout likely returning to lineup Monday
The Angels have been without Mike Trout for three games after he took a pitch to the elbow. While Maddon has not made anything official, Trout himself stated that he was feeling better and looks forward to being in Monday’s lineup when the Angels take on the Texas Rangers.