The starting pitching has largely gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Angels and general manager Perry Minasain as evidenced by their early numbers.
Through 13 games, the Angels starting rotation has posted a 3.48 ERA, good for fifth in Major League Baseball. Their ability to limit runs has put the offense in a position to win, that is until the bullpen comes into the game.
But the group of Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, Tyler Anderson, José Suarez, and sprinkled in contributions from Tucker Davidson and Griffin Canning, has held down the fort.
Manager Phil Nevin has unfortunately taken note of Suarez though, because through his first two starts, the left-hander virtually handed the opposing team a sizable lead before the Angels’ offense could threaten, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“He’s got to get better,” Nevin said. “He knows that. I’m sure he’ll tell you the same thing. And we trust him. He’s done a great job for us. He pitched well for us last year and he’ll find it. It’s been two starts and he’ll find it.”
Suarez has allowed 10 earned runs on 18 hits through 8.1 innings, only mustering six punchouts. The 25-year-old has graded out in the 15th percentile in expected batting average, the 20th percentile in expected slugging, and has produced an abysmal whiff rate.
Nevin discussed Suarez following his most recent outing against the Washington Nationals in which he allowed four runs on 10 hits in just four innings, shedding some positive light regardless of what the numbers say:
“Shape-wise, pitch selection-wise, what his balls were doing when it left his hand, it all was better than last year,” Nevin said. “The location wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
Nevin referred to the average exit velocity on the hits Suarez allowed. Excluding the bunt, it was 85.7 mph.
Although Suarez’s production doesn’t match up with how he may be feeling from a process standpoint, his on-field performance has been a detriment to the club thus far. The positive side from the club’s point of view is that they have enough arms to shuffle the deck.
Other options if José Suarez continues to falter
Griffin Canning made his return to MLB this past week and has shown some very encouraging signs. The Angels also have Davidson who has starting experience, and top pitching prospect Chase Silseth is waiting in the wings at Triple-A.
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