The Los Angeles Angels expected to have a fortified rotation that would be a strength of the staff in 2023, but so far that has not been the case outside of Shohei Ohtani.
With a record of 14-14, the club is in decent shape, even with their league-leading seven blown saves. But as the month of April begins to wrap up, the Angels rotation has reverted back to the mean with a 19th-ranked 4.59 combined ERA.
Patrick Sandoval has been underwhelming, José Suarez is close to being designated for assignment, and Tyler Anderson hasn’t found his stride. Through his first five starts, Ohtani was historic, but on Thursday he allowed five earned runs and shouldered the offensive load with his bat to make up for the rough outing.
A wild card for the Angels is right-hander Griffin Canning, who rejoined the club after nearly 600 days between big league appearances.
Through three outings with the team, Canning has pitched to the tune of a subpar 4.11 ERA, but manager Phil Nevin believes he’ll have more opportunities in the coming weeks, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“Griffin is going to make starts,” Nevin said. “He’s pitched too well not for us to keep him out there. He’s earned that right.”
Originally running out a plan to operate as a six-man rotation is still something they can do, but the cast of arms needs to be shuffled with enough of a sample size to make determinations on players. Canning still needs some time and even some more of a leash than others, even left-hander Tucker Davidson has earned more time in the right situations.
Nevin and general manager Perry Minasian can make the proper moves to turn the team in an even better direction with the majority of MLB struggling to find their footing.
Brandon Drury finding stride with Angels
During a career year with the Cincinnati Reds and following a trade to the San Diego Padres, Drury won a Silver Slugger award after posting a .812 on-base plus slugging in 138 games. This season, he holds a 95 wRC+ in 86 plate appearances with four homers and 14 RBI, but since taking a trip to the East Coast, he’s really found a solid rhythm.
Since April 14, Drury has a .877 OPS with a 137 wRC+ and sits in the upper fourth in MLB in hard-hit rate, all catching the eye of Nevin.
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