Angels taking bullpen approach with Richards' old rotation spot
Aug 31, 2014 at 3:04a ET
Those eight pitchers you watched take the mound for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night? Get used to that scene. Every fifth day it's going to be a hold-your-breath, empty out the bullpen day for the next month.
It's been two turns in the rotation and the Angels still have not been able to replace Garrett Richards. And at this point, they really can't. So, until the end of the season, every fifth start is likely to be a bullpen start.
"It feels like Double-A," catcher Hank Conger said. "It feels like when you have the bullpen days going and that's really how you treat it."
Luckily, with rosters expanding in just two days, the Angels will have the ability to do that. But the pieced together start isn't something that's going to go away anytime soon. General Manager Jerry DiPoto says that he feels they have they have the depth internally to make it work and that acquiring a starting pitcher in a trade this late in the season is highly unlikely.
"During the season, I don't think that could really hold up, honestly," Conger said. "It's tough because you've got to kind of have an in-between of trying to rest your relievers.""
Cory Rasmus started his first game in the majors and was extremely effective through three innings, giving up just one hit and striking out six in 49 pitches. His pitch limit was around 50, and he did his job, as did the rest of the bullpen.
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"Just for him to get three innings right there was huge," Conger said. "Because you know a lot of our guys, we don't have too many long guys. But it's awesome. Just being able to one guy after another constantly step in and stay focused throughout the whole game and come in and do their jobs, it was huge for us."
Scioscia previously had said that if Rasmus pitched well enough, the rotation spot conceivably could be his. But it's clear that his mind is not made up yet.
"We're going to have to expand our pitching staff if we continue to do that," Scioscia said. "And if we have to do it, we will."
There possibly could be help on the way. Starters Randy Wolf, Drew Rucinski and Michael Roth are eligible to be moved to the active roster Monday.
But if the starter by committee plan sticks, there are four more starts where the entire bullpen will need to be on high alert from the very first out.
"Technically, you never know when that one play, that one pitch will come," said closer Huston Street, who was pressed into service for the fourth straight game. "We expect tight games, we expect to get in there and everybody expects to do their job and put up zeros."