Angels’ starters have fallen short in innings pitched – LA Times

By Ben Bolch
Los Angeles Times


The Angels appear to be plenty deep in their starting rotation.


Going deep into games has been another matter entirely.


In their first turn through the rotation, Angels starters averaged only 5 2/3 innings, with no pitcher lasting longer than six innings.


“We wanted to do a lot better,” said Joel Pineiro, who along with Jered Weaver were the only starters to log quality starts of at least six innings and three earned runs or fewer. “But we’re all right. It’s five games into the season and we’re going to start turning things around.”


Pitching coach Mike Butcher suggested that part of the problem was the starters still building stamina early in the season, though he conceded that the Angels needed to be more efficient with their pitches.


“We’re not really concerned about their pitch counts early on,” Butcher said, “but you’re not going to see a guy go 110, 120 pitches his first time out.”


The starters’ inability to pitch deep into games has placed an added burden on a bullpen that has started to buckle. After opening the season with 11 scoreless innings, Angels relievers allowed 10 runs over their next six innings.


“Coming in in the fifth or sixth inning does take a toll on the bullpen, but those guys are fine,” catcher Jeff Mathis said. “Whatever they’ve got to do, they’ll do.”


The rotation could get a boost Thursday if Scott Kazmir makes his season debut as expected against the New York Yankees. Kazmir has spent the last week on the disabled list building stamina after being slowed this spring by hamstring and shoulder injuries.


Wood on the pine


With his batting average having dipped to .063, Brandon Wood was out of the lineup Saturday for the second time in three days.


Or, as Manager Mike Scioscia preferred to put it, the third baseman will play Sunday for the fifth time in seven days.


“You look at it your way, I’ll look at it my way,” Scioscia said. “He’s playing five out of seven.”


Although Wood acknowledged wanting to play every day, he also said he trusted Scioscia’s management of young players.


“He knows what he’s doing,” Wood said. “He’s brought a lot of young guys up and a lot of young guys have had success, so I don’t disagree with the lineup he puts out there.”


But might being repeatedly out of the lineup put more pressure on Wood to succeed once he steps back on the field?


“There’s no pressure like something has to be done today or I’m going to start sinking,” said Wood, who has one hit and a team-high six strikeouts in 16 at-bats. “I don’t feel that at all.”


Scioscia said Wood “needs to get back to simple concepts of playing the game and I think that he’s been trying to do too many things up there in the batter’s box right now.”


Tribute returns


It’s back. On the first anniversary on the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, fans placed several bouquets of flowers, hats and ticket stubs on the brick mound outside Angel Stadium.


The Angels had dismantled a memorial at the same site last December but have no plans to remove the current tribute.


Updated April 10, 2010