Angels 1 Royals 7
I pretty much knew today was going to be a rough one. That didn’t exactly mean I thought the Angels were definitely losing; I just felt that there was a turbulent ride in store for my Friday evening, but sure, the Halos were going to have a chance. Well, turns out, I was wrong. Not about the turbulence part, but about them having a chance. Oops.
So, let’s get the rotten stuff out of the way. J.C. Ramirez was the Angels’ starting pitcher tonight, which isn’t optimal (to put it politely), and if you glanced at that score up above without seeing any of the game, you’re probably thinking the worst right now. But you know what? He wasn’t THAT bad; well, let’s just say he Friday night story wasn’t as awful as the one the boxscore seems to tell.
Ramirez went five innings, giving up just FOUR hits, but he got five earned runs off of those four hits, so there ya go. And it all happened early; Ramirez was getting rocked in the first three sides, including a giant bomb to Mike Moustakas, but after that he flipped a switch somewhere and started to look like a decent pitcher.
The second or third time around in the order, Ramirez settled down and started dispensing with Royals with relative ease, even retiring 9 batters in a row. What looked like another nightmare in which the overtaxed bullpen was going to get heavily taxed some more, ended up being a night where Ramirez threw 75 pitches over five innings and the bullpen was only lightly taxed.
So...cool? Hey, I’ll give Ramirez credit for figuring stuff out in the fourth and fifth. His first MLB start of his career, and it was on the road, against K.C., with his teammates facing a tough challenge themselves in Danny Duffy (more on that dude in a sec)? That’s no cakewalk. It could have been way worse, given the situation. There’s your positive takeaway, if you’re in need of one.
In fact, that fourth and fifth inning success from Ramirez may seems to have been enough for Scioscia to give him another start, according to the manager’s comments after the game. So the book on J.C. Ramirez The Starter doesn’t seem to be closing at the moment. In fact, it’s wide open. See you in a few days, J.C.
Ok, so what if Ramirez HAD pitched like a boss? Well, the Angels would have given him ONE RUN on the scoreboard to back him up. So, maybe the starting pitching tonight is a moot point. Danny Duffy just had the Halos’ number, and the lone run in the game came from an RBI single in the very first inning, hit by Mike Trout, of course. Duffy ended up throwing seven innings, giving up three hits total, and he K’d six batters.
All fizzle, no sizzle.
There will be more games like this. But there will also be more games like the ones we saw in the first 7-8 days of the season. This is no time to overreact, just keep telling yourself that the pitching WILL get better; the pitching WILL come around. Of course, the bats need to do their job, too, because on nights like these, it’s a fools errand to solely focus on the arms.
There’s a lot of things that need to click into place still, but look...this team ALWAYS starts slow. Any surge they get in, say, opening week...or anywhere in April...is all gravy, otherwise, this team we’re seeing, that’s slow off the blocks and still figuring a few things out, is basically what we’re used to seeing every single season, including seasons where they dominate the AL West and go to the playoffs.
What I’m trying to say is IT’S EARLY.