The Los Angeles Angels have grappled with a significant pitching challenge throughout the current season. Despite Shohei Ohtani’s remarkable efforts on the mound, which have occasionally led to fatigue concerns, and Reid Detmers’ recent near-no-hitter performance, the team’s overall pitching performance has been subpar in the year 2023.
This issue prompted the Angels to take action, resulting in the acquisitions of Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez ahead of the trade deadline. However, these moves haven’t resolved the problem entirely, and the team now faces dwindling playoff prospects, trailing seven games behind a postseason position as of Friday.
While Reynaldo Lopez has proven effective from the bullpen, the same cannot be said for Lucas Giolito. The California native, initially expected to bolster the pitching rotation alongside Ohtani, has struggled significantly, maintaining an alarming 8.14 ERA since joining the team.
The collective pitching struggles, coupled with Giolito’s struggles, have contributed to the Angels’ team ERA of 4.54, placing them 21st in the MLB rankings. They find themselves sandwiched between the rebuilding New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals, far from the competitive position they hoped to be in to secure a postseason chance.
“I love the rapport he has with the pitchers, the way they respond to him,” Nevin said. “There are some guys that have taken some steps forward. I understand some guys have taken some steps back, but I don’t put that on Matt. Yes, coaching is a lot of it, but at this level, you gotta be a man and figure some things out on your own to be a professional.”
In light of the team’s pitching setbacks, there has been scrutiny directed toward pitching coach Matt Wise. However, manager Phil Nevin has defended Wise against the criticism. Yet, the focus remains on the team’s consistent performance improvement, as the clock ticks down on their opportunity to rectify the situation.
As the regular season continues, the Angels have roughly a month and a half remaining to reverse their fortunes. A dismal post-trade-deadline record of 4-11 since August began highlights the challenge they face in turning things around.
However, sporadic successes won’t suffice. The Angels must locate the long-awaited consistency that has eluded them far too often. Failing to do so could invite scrutiny and questions about their performance, leaving a blemish on their pitching staff’s reputation.