The Los Angeles Angels were mired in controversy before the 2021 regular season even began as then-pitching coach Mickey Callaway was suspended after being accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women.
A three-month investigation by Major League Baseball resulted in Callaway being placed on the ineligible list through at least the end of the 2022 season. He subsequently was let go by the Angels, which had a ripple effect on several coaches in the organization.
Matt Wise, who was expected to continue his role as bullpen coach, replaced Callaway as the interim pitching coach. The interim tag was removed in May, but that hasn’t made Wise’s job any easier, as he has had to navigate through several obstacles in his first season at the position.
For one, the Angels pitching staff has undergone significant changes since the start of the season due to injuries and trades. Wise cited the constant turnover as one of the biggest challenges he’s faced, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“Obviously there’s been a little bit of a turnover, so I’m just trying to get to know these guys, and I’m doing everything I can,” Wise told The Athletic. “Maybe it’s a tidbit on the opposition. Maybe it’s a tidbit on their delivery. Or maybe it’s just letting them feel comfortable in their environment. It’s our job, it’s what we do.”
Wise, still in the early stages of his coaching career, admitted to having to adjust to a huge learning curve this season:
“It’s been a gigantic learning curve,” Wise said. “Everyone who gets into coaching wants to coach at the major-league level for the most part. And until you’ve actually gone through it … you really can’t learn it until you live through it.”
For all of the talent the Angels have on their pitching staff, it has mostly been an inconsistent group under Wise’s tutelage this year.
Several hurlers have made strides, such as Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez, while others like Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning did not see much progress.
The Angels as a team have compiled 11.2 pitching WAR this season, which is good for 18th in MLB. On the flip side, their 4.77 ERA is the fifth-worst in baseball, and they additionally rank toward the bottom of the league in walks per nine innings (3.77; fifth-worst).
Maddon won’t use Iglesias before ninth inning to protect future
One of the biggest bright spots of the Angels pitching staff this season has been Raisel Iglesias, whose ability to log multiple innings out of the bullpen makes him one of the more underrated relievers in all of baseball.
Scheduled to reach free agency at the end of the season, Angels manager Joe Maddon recently revealed he will no longer use Iglesias before the ninth inning as a means to protect his future.