Clouds Return: 5/7

After a week of good fortune, the Angels suffering returned, on and off the field. They closed out the first week of May dropping two of three to the Astros at the Big A after opening the week in identical fashion against the Mariners. Worse than the loss of two consecutive series at home was the unexpected news that left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs would miss the next 10-12 weeks with a Grade 2 right oblique strain. Skaggs’ injury was originally diagnosed as “right side tightness,” but an MRI over the weekend revealed the more serous nature of the injury. The loss of Skaggs, who missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of ’14, means that the Angels rotation will now be composed of five right-handed pitchers–Matt Shoemaker, Ricky Nolasco, JC Ramirez, Jesse Chavez and the recently re-recalled Alex Meyer (Meyer took the loss in Thursday’s loss to the Mariners giving up 8 hits, 3 walks, and 6 earned runs in 4 innings of work. Though Meyer has top-notch velocity, his control has proven to be his Achilles heel in Minnesota, Salt Lake, and now in Anaheim). The Angels have few alternatives to add to the rotation beyond this group. Left-hander Nate Smith, perhaps their top minor league pitching prospect, might be given consideration within the next month or so, but for now, he is throwing in extended spring training at the Tempe Arizona complex having been sidelined with a forearm issue that prevented him from pitching in the Cactus League. Outside of a trade, the only other arms that are likely to be considered are Manny Banuelos, Troy Scribner, Luis Diaz, and Daniel Wright. Among this group, only Banuelos and Wright have Major League experience and only Wright has thrown for the Angels (3 games, 1 GS for the Angels this season. Wright has an unspectacular 5.54 ERA over 13.0 innings in ’17 and a career 1-5 record alongside a 6.13 ERA).

This past week, right-hander Doug Fister who pitched with limited success for the Astros last year held an open workout. The Angels gambled in signing Tim Lincecum under similar circumstances last year and that experiment failed badly. Lincecum was released and was not signed by another club this year.  Sadly, “The Freak’s” 2X Cy Young award career would appear to be over just ten years after it began with enormous promise and success.

If you’re wondering about whether ex-Angel Jered Weaver should have been resigned last winter, his efforts to date with the Padres should reassure you that the Angels were correct in allowing one of the greatest pitchers in Angels history to depart after the ’16 season. Weaver is 0-3 with the Padres and has an ERA over 5.50.  He leads the NL in home runs allowed with 12 and led the American League last year in this most embarrassing category.

For now, Anaheim fans may need to reserve their highest hopes for the hometown Ducks. Their recent comeback from a 3-0 deficit with slightly more than 3 minutes to go in the fifth playoff game against Edmonton at the Honda Center was a classic that will be remembered for generations. Unfortunately, for the Ducks to advance to the Western Conference finals, they’ll need a seventh game victory at home as they were destroyed by the Oilers on Sunday, 7-1. If the Ducks do come up short as they traditionally have in game 7’s (This is the fifth straight year Anaheim has played a game seven at home; they’ve dropped the past four), perhaps Getzlaf, Perry, and Kessler might consider holding open tryouts in hopes of joining the Halo’s rotation. For now, let’s pray the Ducks play on as clouds hover over the Big A.