And the Angels thought it would be a nice pleasant trip to Texas, Chicago and Oakland
Plenty of people thought the Angels had baseball’s most complete team after they acquired Zack Greinke. He deepened a rotation that was already decent. Mike Trout had long since energized the offense. And manager Mike Scioscia had mixed and matched the pieces in a bullpen that had gotten better by the day. For a long time, it looked like GM Jerry Dipoto’s trade for closer Ernesto Frieri might be a season-saver.
And then came a 10-game swing through Texas, Chicago and Oakland. The Angels went 4-6. They lost six of their last eight and dropped from three games to seven games behind the Rangers in the AL West. They’re still just 1 1/2 games out in the AL Wild Card race, but trending the wrong way.
Their bullpen had a 10.54 ERA on the trip. The Angels held a lead in the fifth inning or later in nine of the 10 games. The bullpen was charged with five losses and four blown saves in the last eight games. It leads the AL with 17 blown saves.
Latroy Hawkins had a 13.50 ERA on the trip and blew a couple of save chances in last 2 appearances. Frieri blew one save but hasn’t had a chance in almost a week.
To quote Bill Ripken, “Show me a good bullpen, and I’ll show you a good rotation.” Angels starters haven’t gotten an out in the seventh inning in 24 of the last 37 games. Five time, it was Jered Weaver.
Greinke is winless in four starts for his new team, and against the A’s on Wednesday, he threw his 60th pitch in the second inning.
The Angels apparently don’t believe they have good bullpen options at Triple-A, so GM Jerry Dipoto is keeping an eye on waiver wire. Their best hope is to get Jordan Walden and Scott Downs back from DL and to hold on until then.