The Halos lost the first series of their second half, splitting the final two games in New York after blowing a late lead on Friday night. The bullpen has struggled to allow the Angels’ modest offense to succeed as of late, and the pen has been the story of the second half thus far.
After a tough start to the season, the bullpen had stabilized and the numbers started reflect what it really was–league-average. Over the past three games the relief core has twice allowed three runs or more and started to create panic among the fanbase.
On Sunday, the Halos entered the bottom of the 9th with a 10-5 lead and Ernesto Frieri on the bump. Frieri had not pitched in quite some time, so Mike Scioscia wanted to give him some work. The Halos’ closer struggled, walking the leadoff man, promptly allowing a two-run blast, then walking another to end his night.
Frieri left the game with a runner on first and Scott Downs. The lefthander worked the first pair of outs, but ultimately ended up walking in a run with the bases loaded before leaving with the bags juiced. Kevin “You’ve Got to be Kidding” Jepsen entered the game (really) for the final out, which came against *Alex Rodriguez.
*SABR President Vince Gennaro conducted a study evaluating player performance against elite pitching (as a way to predict playoff performance) and found that A-Rod is well below league averages against the top pitchers, but absolutely crushes weak competition. I’d lump Kevin Jepsen in the “weak competition” category.
The Halos got the out and won the game, but nobody was particularly happy about how the win came.
Last night Ervin Santana left the game after six decent innings with a 5-4 lead. In the 7th, Hisanori Takahashi and LaTroy Hawkins blew the lead, then David Carpenter allowed the Tigers an insurance run in the 8th.
The Halos failed to make a late-inning comeback and dropped their opening game against Detroit. Much has been said of the Angels’ difficult second-half schedule, and the next couple weeks will not only tell us how significant the team’s weaknesses are, but also if Jerry Dipoto and company recognize the weaknesses enough to solve them by bringing in outside talent.
Tonight, the Angels send Garrett Richards to the mound to take on Detroit youngster Jacob Turner.
Hudson Belinsky can be followed on Twitter at @hudsonbelinsky.
Interested in great baseball writing and analysis? Then check out The Hall of Nearly Great! Click here to view more details.