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Angels Bullpen Legit...Get Used To It
AP Photo/Francis Specker
If you caught the last 4 innings of Monday's 4-1 Angel victory, you had a lot to like. Sure, earlier you saw Casey Kotchman lead off his season with a big fly to center field, and you even saw Mike Napoli steal a base, but what should really excite Angel fans is the way the Angels bullpen locked down the Rangers offense from the 6th inning on. John Lackey threw a solid 6 innings, and was replaced by the once-retired lefty known as Darren Oliver. Oliver struggled for a couple of batters, at which point Justin Speier entered the game. Speier, who was signed by the Angels this off-season, worked his way out of a jam, and ended up throwing two perfect innings. He was then replaced by Scot Shields, who threw a perfect 8th, and Francisco Rodriguez, who threw a perfect 9th for the save.
Here's the reason I'm writing about the bullpen: the Angels offense, although not anemic, will not be confused for that of the New York Yankees. More often than not, this is how the Angels will win their games on 2007, getting an early lead and the bullpen being solid and holding on to it. Middle relievers and set-up men aren't in the glamour roles of baseball, however when you've got an offense like the Angels have, it's imperative that those guys are well beyond adequate. If the Angels are to get deep into the playoffs this year, the bullpen will be largely responsible for it.
On another note, happy birthday to LAist's own Adam Rose, the brilliant author who brought you tons of photos of UCLA students in their underwear. Our baby boy's all grown up, if only dog girl could see you now.