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Angels fall 2-1 in Oakland pitching duel to remain tied with Astros in divisional standings

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Tyler Skaggs and the bullpen looked competitive while the offense was less so.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Across 12.2 innings in a 3-1 series loss, the Angels bullpen has been spectacular. Maybe “spectacular” is a little strong, but it is hard not to use more extravagant words when comparing it directly to the lineup. Zero runs allowed, earned or otherwise, and that is with literally every single reliever having made an appearance. That includes the likes of Cam Bedrosian, Luke Bard, and Luis Garcia.

Today, this same bullpen did yet another fantastic job of shutting down the last half of the game. It may not have always been pretty, as the aforementioned Luis Garcia had to maneuver out of a botched double play, an intentional walk, and an unintentional walk in order to do it, but it got the job done.

Thank you bullpen.

The starting pitching in the series has looked mostly solid despite unsatisfactory results. Tyler Skaggs did not go as deep into the game as many would have liked, but he was on a pitch limit. It is easy to see that his stuff was pretty much working again. Today’s start was a far cry from the Tyler that we saw in the second half of 2018 who was battling with back pain.

Thank you starters.

Perhaps these maligned arms are closer to contention than many expect. Injuries aside, this could be a legitimately passable rotation. The order of the rotation is questionable, but that tends to matter less as the days go by.

The offense is a problem though. It may be early, but it’s also too early to be looking like you can’t find the fastball of a pitcher who hasn’t ramped up their velocity yet. These starters are not at the top of their game, yet we continue watch the bats pop up and ground out as if Greg Maddux himself was pitching.

Today, Kole Calhoun broke through. Maybe I’m wrong about him. He hit a home run with the force of a megaton of TnT, delivering the ball to Angels fans on Mars. He also doubled in the first inning. He looks different.

And other than a bit of Trout-on-the-basepaths and a Justin Bour double that impressed zero jaded fans, that was all we saw.

Maybe both team’s pitching staffs are highly underrated. Maybe both offenses are just garbage. One thing is certain. The Angels are doing no worse than the Houston Astros and keeping pace with them will (almost) surely get us where we want to be.