Over the excitement of the Spring, there was one lingering fear in the back of Angel fans minds. "Is this bullpen good enough"? Unfortunately the answer is a resounding "NO". The Halos weak link has been exposed early in the 2012 season and the team is off to a 2-4 record.
Los Angeles relievers have blew a 6-5 and 6-0 leads in back to back games against the Minnesota Twins. It is more than fair to say that Kevin Jepsen, Rich Thompson and Hisanori Takahashi have all been ineffective.
To further the bullpen woes, left handed pitcher Scott Downs suffered a "contusion" on his right ankle during a play at first base, colliding with Twins outfielder Denard Span.
Between the 25 blown saves and tied game walk-off hits, the 2011 edition of the Angels bullpen was a disaster. If the Angels had protected just ten more leads last year they would have had 96 wins (same as Texas). Anaheim won their first World Series in 2002 on the back of a strong bullpen. The game was virtually over once it was the ball was handed from Donnelly to Rodriguez to Pericival.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto reacted saying "We've had a rough couple of days, but there's no reason to push the panic button".
Dipoto then summoned reliever David Carpenter from Triple-A Salt Lake (Alexi Amarista sent down). Left hander Brad Mills has also joined the ballclub in New York just in case. Relievers Michael Kohn (out for the season with Tommy John surgery) and Bobby Cassevah are currently on the disabled list. Trevor Bell and Jeremy Berg could be in house replacements.
As a former relief pitcher Dipoto knows how important shut down bullpen is to a World Series contending team. Despite some early trouble, the Angels rotation will round into shape. With an offense capable of scoring 5 runs nightly, the bullpen has to convert their save opportunities or it is going to be a very disappointing year for Halo fans.
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