Today the Angels confirmed that Ricky “Fiasco” Nolasco would be the 2017 opening day starter. Since joining the Angels and through spring training this year, Nolasco has been far removed from that nickname he earned while with the Twins.
Matt Shoemaker, who I think also deserved the spot, will pitch in game two on Tuesday, and we will see Garrett Richards in game 3.
Where to start with all this?? First, Thursday (game #4) is TBD which may leave many wondering why Tyler Skaggs was not listed. Well, Skaggs threw 92 pitches and allowed 5 runs in his AAA start on Thursday. The rotation decision was announced before Skaggs was finished with his start, and the Angels were encouraged by what they saw. I would put money on Skaggs as that #4 starter.
Jesse Chavez, who threw for the A’s from 2012-2015 misses the 4-game series against Oakland and landed the job as starter for the Angels home opener.
Ricky Nolasco was an interesting choice for game #1, but not a huge surprise if you look at spring stats. Shoemaker was arguably the Angels best full season pitcher last year (since Nolasco came mid season), and of course he has seniority on the team. However, his spring wasn’t the best and he had a 5.29 ERA with a 1.65 WHIP over 17 IP.
Nolasco, who had a pretty great second half last year was on point this spring with a 3.52 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 15 innings. It’s clear he has been throwing the ball well, and it’s also clear the Angels like what they have been seeing from him lately.
Monday will be Nolasco’s 4th career opening day start.