Angels’ Bullpen Still Setting Fires

Despite the trade of Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli, the Angels’ bullpen is still setting fires, rather than putting them out.

After gaining several games on the suddenly slumping Oakland A’s, the Angels tonight had a chance to draw within 2-1/2 games of the first place A’s, but in a tie game, Mike Scioscia stayed with at best his third option out of the pen in Mike Morin to pitch the ninth inning, and the result was a loss to the White Sox.

In yesterday's double header sweep of the Sox, Scioscia got a save in the first game from Joe Smith, after the just called up Rich HIll gave up a run on two walks and a hit without retiring a batter. Smith collected another save in the second game, pitching the ninth inning after Grilli made his Angels' debut by pitching a scoreless eighth. Hill was used in that game as well, again not retiring a batter, while walking the one batter he faced.
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Smith was to be only a last resort today after working both games yesterday, but Grilli only pitched the one inning, and Kevin Jepsen had also pitched a single, very effective inning yesterday, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Morin also worked yesterday, striking out the only batter he faced. So, it was Morin in today’s ninth inning.

In his return from the disabled list, Tyler Skaggs pitched an excelled seven and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a single walk, while striking out six. Morin came in to the game with two out in the eighth, with the based empty. He gave up a hit and

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a walk before recording the third out, yet he came back out for the ninth. He retired the first batter, than gave up three straight hits, a run, and the game. The hit was off the bat of .193 hitting Leury Garcia, and the RBI was his third of the season, and fourth lifetime.

Morin has overall pitched well since his May call-up, as his 2.15 ERA and 1.12 WHIP would
attest, but both numbers have been on the rise as of late, as Morin has been given more pressure assignments. On June 6, his ERA was 1.06, but since he’s allowed five earned runs and 17 hits and walks in 12-1/3 innings, for an ERA 3.65 of and a WHIP of 1.38.

Smith appears to have solidified his spot as the Angels’ closer, at least for now, but he cannot work every game. Grilli needs to get the chance to be the next guy, and after him, as I said awhile back, should be Jepsen. Morin didn’t have it today, and after his rough eighth, Grilli or Jepsen should have started the ninth.

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