Friday, May 18, 2018


When "ClosersAngels" have been trending on Twitter almost since the beginning of the 2018 season, you know the Los Angeles ninth inning situation has been anything but smooth.  With Blake Parker having flamed out in ugly fashion right at the jump, it was the previously unknown Keyan Middleton who came to the rescue by instantly becoming a very effective stopper for the team.  That is until UCL damage was found in his elbow and so Middletoni is now headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery after he exhausts his second and third opinions.  With Middleton now out of the picture, the closing situation for the Angels is in flux again a Parker, Jim Johnson, Cam Bedrosian, and Justin Anderson were all mentioned as possible alternatives.  So as we always do in this space, let's look at all the candidates in terms of their chances to run with the gig:

Jim Johnson:  Johnson was my initial pick here given the fact he was having a decent season until some recent struggles and the experience here dwarfs everyone else.  However we can safely remove Johnson from consideration since he pitched in the seventh inning last night in a losing 7-1 effort by the team.

Cam Bedrosian:  While Bedrosian opened some eyes by logging 6 saves in 2017, it was quite messy as he logged an ugly 4.43 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.  Things have not been so smooth this season either as Bedrosian has given up 3 home runs and walked 7 batters in just 18.2 innings and you get the sense Mike Scoscia has no confidence in him as the stopper.  We don't see this happening here just yet, if at all.

Blake Parker:  The pendulum has now swung back to Parker who got an out in the ninth to pick up a win the other day and he has rebounded from an ugly spring and beginning to the season to post a 3.10, 1.28 WHIP, and struck out 22 batters in 20.1 IP.  Those are certainly closer-worthy numbers but 7 walks and 3 home runs are red flags.  Be that as it may, I have Parker as the top pick along with the following,.....

Justin Anderson:  The rookie Justin Anderson has the worst ERA of the bunch at 5.23 and his 1.55 WHIP is hideous but the kid picked up a successful save conversion a few days ago while Parker got a day of rest.  6 walks in just 10.1 innings is a problem and I have a tough time imagining Mike Scoscia would given the gig to a rookie who has not pitched that well.  With that said, this is Mike Scoscia we are talking about who we all know beats to his own drum and beat reporters who cover the team did mention Anderson as a possible alternative when Middleton first got hurt.

So when you put it all together, Blake Parker and Justin Anderson are the two you need to be on top of with regards to figuring out who will close games for the Angels the rest of the season.  If Anderson had not gotten the save the other day, I would be 100 percent all-in on Parker but maybe Scoscia gives the kid another shot since he was successful the last time out.  Pick up both if you can and see how it shakes out.

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