It has really not been a great week for one of the most hyped teams in the league, the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have lost three straight, including two to the woeful Twins, and have allowed at leave five runs in each of those three losses. Over those three games, Los Angeles’s bullpen has allowed eight runs in six innings. Honestly, it’s nothing to get overly worked up about, but Angels fans are a little on edge with their 2-5 record, and as scary as this thought is, they’re longing for Fernando Rodney.
GM Jerry DiPoto isn’t standing idly by while this is going on. DiPoto is acting on his team’s deficiency, and is trying to turn the bullpen around.
Utilityman Alexi Amarista was demoted to minor league camp yesterday, and the team purchased the contract of David Carpenter from AAA Salt Lake. Carpenter threw three scoreless innings in the minors this season, striking out two and walking one. He made his season debut yesterday for the Angels, and threw a scoreless eighth inning in the team’s 5-0 loss to the Yankees. Last season, Carpenter spent the year between high-A Inland Empire and AA Arkansas, where he struck out 52 in 47 2/3 innings, only walking 14 batters in the process.
Then, more news came this morning. Reliever Rich Thompson, who in two games and 2 1/3 innings this season, had allowed four runs on five hits, had been designated for assignment. He’ll be replaced on the roster by lefty Brad Mills, who was working as a starter for Salt Lake. In his one start this year, Mills had allowed one run in six innings, striking out four while walking one. Mills spent last year with the Blue Jays organization, and had a 4.00 ERA in AAA Las Vegas, with a 9.82 ERA in the majors.
The moves may not be over, as highly paid veteran reliever Scott Downs was on crutches after Thursday’s game against the Twins. He’s listed as day to day, but may need to go on the DL if his bruised ankle doesn’t heal as well as the Angels hope. If the Angels have to disable him too, their Opening Day bullpen will be down three members, just a week into the season. Fortunately for the Angels, replacing Amarista with Carpenter is giving them an eight man bullpen. The team will need to make another corresponding move before Sunday though, as the need for fifth starter Jerome Williams will be on the horizon. The team could disable Downs then if they feel he’s not progressing well, or they could demote one of the two pitchers they’ve just called up based on recent efforts (probably Mills).
At any rate, Jerry DiPoto and the Angels aren’t standing pat and letting things correct themselves. I know it’s very early, but the Rangers have already opened up a 3.5 game lead on the Angels. A win in April is the same as a win in September, and the Angels have lost their first two series of the season to the Royals and Twins. Things ease up after the Angels leave New York, with home series against the A’s and Orioles on tap, but the Angels really don’t want to go into the first extended homestand of the year with a 3-6 (or worse) record.