The Los Angeles Angels are still in the aftermath of the worst stretch in team history, and the bullpen’s inability to perform was a glaring issue. However, interim manager Phil Nevin believes communication with his relievers will be a step in the right direction.
Dating back to May 25, the start of their historic losing streak, the Angels bullpen posted an ERA of 5.25 and a FIP of 4.75, while allowing an opposing batting average of .270, all of which rank in the bottom 10 in Major League Baseball.
Their usage is a huge factor, and with 73.2 innings pitched (No. 4 in MLB) since May 25, Nevin expressed his desire to avoid using multiple relievers in an inning as much as possible and have stronger communication with them, via Mike DiGiovanna of The L.A. Times:
“I think those guys are better suited coming in as much as you can with clean innings,” Nevin said. “Just communicating with them, [seeing] how they’re doing each day, where they feel like they stand and just talking to them on a daily basis.
“I feel like it’s important to touch each guy every day and let them know how important they are to our club. That’s everybody. I want them to know what their roles are that day, and we will continue to have those conversations every day.”
Thus far in 2022, the Angels bullpen has allowed 36% of runners on base to score, good for 24th in MLB. They have allowed the sixth-most home runs in the league to go along with the fourth-most hard-contact allowed.
The Angels bullpen has struggled, but Nevin seems to understand they are simply allowing too much damage with runners on base. One adjustment he may make is to be more aggressive when taking starters out and perhaps will call on the pen an inning early, instead of with heavy traffic on the bases.
Nevin prioritizing rest for Andrew Velazquez
When the Angels lost David Fletcher to a hip injury earlier this season, there were questions about how the team would fill the void at shortstop.
The Angels ultimately turned to Andrew Velazquez, who had put up big numbers in Triple-A Salt Lake. The 27-year-old signed a Minor League contract with the organization this past offseason and is mostly known for his defense. Velazquez has gone on to start 46 of the Angels’ 52 games at shortstop from the time he was recalled.
But starting that many games likely isn’t sustainable for long-term success, and Nevin knows Velazquez from their time together with the New York Yankees, and believes he will benefit from more days off.