A’s have done what Angels have not: overcome a rotation ravaged by injuries

first_img Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield “There’s a next-man-up mentality,” A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty said. “Everyone knows there’s something special going on, and wants to be a part of it. If someone is called up, there is extra motivation to do well, not only for themselves but for the team.”Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.The results have surprised even those within the organization.“There have been individual games where it didn’t look like we had great matchups,” General Manager David Forst said, “and the guys pitched great. The consistency has been there.”Consistency of performance, but not names.A rundown of what’s happened to the A’s starting rotation will sound familiar to Angels fans. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros ANAHEIM — The injuries to the Angels’ starting rotation have been well-chronicled, and a major reason why the team has failed to live up to expectations.Then, there are the Oakland A’s.As the Angels opened a three-game series against the A’s on Tuesday night, the Angels were looking ahead to 2019 and the A’s are counting the days until they can clinch a wild-card berth.At 90-60 heading into Tuesday’s game, the A’s have demonstrated that overcoming injuries to the rotation is simple: have a great bullpen and a deep lineup. The A’s began spring training hoping to have a rotation of Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, Kendall Graveman, Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn.All are gone now.Manaea made it through most of the season before suffering a shoulder injury that will knock him out until 2020. Cotton and Blackburn didn’t even make it out of spring training before getting hurt, including Tommy John surgery for Cotton. A.J. Puk, the A’s top pitching prospect, also succumbed to Tommy John surgery in the spring.The A’s have covered for all of that by recycling pitchers from the past. Trevor Cahill (3.77 ERA, 19 starts) and Brett Anderson (4.35, 14 starts) returned to their original team in spring training. Journeyman Edwin Jackson (3.17, 17 starts) is on his 13th team. Mike Fiers (3.09, eight starts) slipped through waivers to the A’s in August.Overall, though, the Angels’ starters have not been far behind the A’s. Thanks to strong performances by guys such as Jaime Barría and Felix Peña, neither of whom projected to be in the rotation, and the work they did get from Tyler Skaggs and Shohei Ohtani around their injuries, the Angels’ rotation has performed about as well as the A’s.Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Angels had a 4.23 rotation ERA, and the A’s had a 4.17 mark.In the bullpen, though, the A’s have a 3.25 ERA and a WHIP of 1.191, compared with 3.63 and 1.308 for the Angels. The A’s are 65-0 when leading after seven innings, the only team in baseball not to have a loss in that situation. The Angels are 65-10.A’s closer Blake Treinen (0.85 ERA, 37 saves) was an All-Star. Lou Trivino (2.14) came from anonymity in the A’s farm system. They also added two closers, Jeurys Familia (3.58) and Fernando Rodney (3.31), in trades in July.The bullpen has also been supported by a lineup that includes five players who have hit more than 20 homers, led by Khris Davis (43 homers, 115 RBIs) and MVP candidate Matt Chapman (23 homers, .885 OPS), both Cal State Fullerton products.Related Articlescenter_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone The A’s have averaged 4.84 runs per game, which is fifth in the league. The Angels are seventh, at 4.48. The A’s, however, lead the league in OPS after the seventh inning, which is why so many close games have gone their way at the end,“There is no point in the lineup the pitcher can really take a breath,” second baseman Jed Lowrie said. “One through nine can hurt you, even guys coming off the bench. We have guys who have a lot of ability and a lot of talent and those guys grind out at-bats and make it hard on pitchers and force a lot of mistakes.”The result is a team that has been able to overcome what the Angels have not.“From the outside looking in, their bullpen is about as lock-down as you want a bullpen to be,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “They are doing a great job, and it’s had a major impact. On the offensive side, all the guys are having good years, and they’ve been able to overcome some things that have derailed some teams.” Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros last_img

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