The Los Angeles Angels entered the offseason with a focus to shore up their starting rotation and did that by signing Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard to one-year deals.
Syndergaard’s career has been made from the rotation, and that’s where Lorenzen envisioned himself as well after agreeing to sign in L.A. with a guaranteed spot as a starter. He had only started 26 career games dating back to 2015, and 21 of those came in his rookie season.
But with a pitch mix like Lorenzen has, he felt best utilized in more than just a relief role which he had been during most of his big league career.
In his first start this season against the Miami Marlins, Lorenzen threw six innings of one-run ball with seven punchouts and no walks. He followed that with a shaky outing against the Houston Astros, throwing 3.1 innings while allowing four runs, but he still feels like he’s at his best starting a game, Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It’s just it’s a lot more fun being in the rotation knowing I have five, six, seven innings to throw,” Lorenzen said. “I’m going to be able to get everything in, and use everything and set guys up certain ways the next time through. It’s just so much more fun to be able to do that rather than just being limited. I have too many pitches to be limited in the bullpen.”
There seem to always be question marks with the Angels in a few areas, but their starters have been a huge bright spot early in the season.
With Shohei Ohtani, Syndergaard, and Lorenzen as a top-three rotation, Angels Nation might be yelling ‘light that baby up’ more than they have in recent years if the offense and bullpen hold up their end.
Syndergaard still building velocity
Syndergaard pitched six innings while allowing just two runs on five hits while adding four strikeouts with no walks in his second start with the Angels. In his previous he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings and now owns a 1.59 ERA this season.
While his early success is encouraging, the 29-year-old has yet to fully hit his stride in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
So far this season, Syndergaard is averaging 95 mph on his fastball, a drop from his previous average that sat around 98 mph and touched triple-digits consistently, but he believes that high velocity will come back to him eventually.
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