Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Matt Wise was not expected to take over his current position full time until Mickey Callaway was suspended by the MLB and subsequently let go from the Halos organization. Now that the position is his, Wise is faced with tasks that no other pitching coach in the league has to deal with.
Of course, every pitching coach is trying to figure out the transition from a 60-game season to a full-length year, managing the workloads of the bullpen and his six-man starting rotation. However, what separates Wise’s job from the rest is Shohei Ohtani, who is doing something that no one has done consistently for nearly a century.
Of Ohtani’s seven starts this year, five have come on six or more days of rest, significantly more than the traditional four or even five days off. With Ohtani, something as simple as decreased velocity can lead to deep internal conversations, something that Wise and Joe Maddon are constantly monitoring, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“The velocity, we were obviously aware of that game,” Wise said. “Joe and I were observing everything he did in that game. The velocity was down and he had no physical complaints. He just said he felt a little sluggish that day. So, we will continue to monitor everything and make sure that if we need to be proactive and add in an extra day, we’ll do it.”
Beyond just Ohtani, 30 of the Angels’ 55 starts this season have come on six or more days of rest, with several of these not due to injury. This falls right in line with Wise’s mentality on resting his starters.
“Nothing’s off the table as far as giving guys extra rest here and there,” Wise said. “It’s the whole staff, but Shohei obviously is unique. We’re going to have the monitor the time between starts, the time we give him between bullpens, the days he hits. It all plays a role. That’s just something we’re going to have to deal with.”
Obviously, the Angels would prefer to have some consistency with their starting rotation. However, injuries and sluggishness happen over the course of a season, and there’s perhaps no team better to handle the shuffling of their rotation than the Angels.
Wise and the coaching staff don’t appear to have any plans to change the way things are going right now, especially in the midst of a two-week stretch that has seen legitimately improved pitching numbers from the starters.
Angels approaching lighter stretch of schedule with playoff mentality
The Angels are entering a stretch of very winnable games against at-or-below-.500 opponents. If they want to get back into the postseason picture, Maddon said the team need to approach this stretch with a playoff mentality. Otherwise, the playoffs could be out of reach by the All-Star Break.