Angels News: Shohei Ohtani May Pitch More Often Late In Season
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros
Jun 2, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) pitches during the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels rotation was expected to be a strength of their team in 2023, but so far that has not been the case.

Tyler Anderson, Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval and José Suarez were all expected to complement Shohei Ohtani as valuable members of the rotation. However, their staff ERA of 4.77 ranks as the eighth worst in baseball.

There are positives to look toward as the talent level remains high and with the off days this month, general manager Perry Minasian is considering using those to keep his best arms on the mound as much as possible, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:

“Once we get to the off days, that’s where it’s going to be who’s pitching the best,” Minasian said. “We can get creative. … We have to get there. We’ve got to stay healthy. But what we’re doing now has no basis on what we’ll do going forward.”

Minasian has taken an aggressive approach with his prospects, calling up Ben Joyce, Chase Silseth, Zach Neto and Sam Bachman. It also proves that he understands the need for the Angels to keep the best players on the field as much as possible.

The one area they’ve shied away from is overusing Ohtani, something the club hasn’t ever tried to do, mainly to avoid going against the two-way star’s preferred routine of pitching on five days rest. But Minasian has hinted at a willingness to discuss the possibility if the situation called for it:

“I’m open to that,” Minasian said. “I think he would be too. I can’t do it now. But you get to August and September, I’d think he’d do it. The guy wants to win.”

Ohtani has either started on five days or six-plus in his MLB career, only making one start on a traditional schedule, which came this season:

“If he pitches on the fifth day instead of the sixth day, how big of a drastic change is that?” Minasian said. “I don’t know. We might do it once and it doesn’t work and we don’t do it again. There’s no roadmap. Or we might not try it at all.”

The Angels handed better production from their rotation to get them back on the winning path so they can catch up to the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros. If the rest of their rotation can’t figure it out, utilizing their ace more may be the best path forward.

Perry Minasian wants to build an Angels bullpen from within

Offseason acquisitions of Carlos Estévez and Matt Moore have been very solid additions, but a string of injuries has created a need for youth among the Major League roster.

Relying on outside help isn’t always the way to go with relievers, simply because they’re among the most volatile group on a staff. But calling up Joyce, Silseth and Bachman to get their first extended taste of MLB could prove to be incredibly valuable in the long term and the Angels hope it will translate over the next few seasons.

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