The Los Angeles Angels have not shied away from making massive changes to their starting rotation in recent weeks. It started with what felt like an obvious decision, moving Jose Quintana to the bullpen in favor of Patrick Sandoval. Then, Dylan Bundy — last year’s ace — was replaced by Jose Suarez temporarily. Now, Griffin Canning is the next to see the chopping block.
After a rocky start against the lowly Baltimore Orioles on Friday where he allowed six earned runs in 2.2 innings of work, Joe Maddon knew it was time to make a change. The Angels brass had been considering the decision for some time, but Friday solidified what they had to do.
The Angels optioned Canning to Triple-A Salt Lake. Since the Angels do not need a sixth starter until well after the All-Star Break, they decided now was the best time to act. Maddon discussed the decision from his and Canning’s perspective, according to Mike DiGiovanna of The L.A. Times:
“When you’re in that position as a player, once you hear the words ‘we’re gonna send you out,’ you probably don’t hear another thing,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said before Saturday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles in Angel Stadium. “That’s just the way it works.
“It’s been an ongoing conversation,” Maddon said. “It’s been a struggle getting deeper into games, and his fastball command in general has not been as sharp as we’d like to see. What happened most recently, it kind of validates what you’d been thinking. And you have to react. For him and for us.
“The message is that everyone has to earn the right to be here. That’s a good thing. Go down there and get better. Find your fastball command. There’s nothing more complicated than that. He’s been very inconsistent here. He’ll be the first one to tell you that. He’ll be back, and a better version of him will return.”
Here, Maddon appears hopeful that Canning will figure out his fastball command issues quickly in order to get back to the big league roster. This season, Canning is 5-4 with a 5.60, a 1.484 WHIP, and home run-per-9, strikeout-per-9, and walk-per-9 ratios of 2.0, 8.9, and 4.0 respectively. All of these numbers are career-worsts.
Canning’s spot in the rotation was no replaced, but his spot on the roster was taken by pitcher Andrew Wantz. The 25-year old right-hander had a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings over eight appearances, five of them starts.
Alex Cobb dazzles vs. Orioles
While Canning struggled mightily to get anything over on the Orioles offense, Cobb saw none of the same issues. He pitched 7.2 innings — the longest outing by an Angels pitcher this season — and allowed just one run while striking out six.