Angels' bullpen a valuable weapon

Angels' bullpen a valuable weapon

Angels' bullpen a valuable weapon
ANAHEIM -- The cast has gone through some early alterations, but the Angels' bullpen has been lights out since its struggles during the season-opening series in Kansas City with its near-freezing temperatures.

"We've got some good guys down there," Jordan Walden, the closer, said. "We always pull for each other to get the job done."

Over the past 19 games heading into the series finale against the Athletics, the bullpen put together a 1.52 ERA, allowing only 31 hits in 53 1/3 innings while striking out 40 and walking 29 batters.

In the critical department of inherited baserunners, the unit has allowed only four of 23 to score -- a stat sure to make the bullpen popular with the starters.

"That's a huge stat, being able to strand runners," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They're keeping us in the game, holding leads. The results have been better as the guys have gotten into [the season]. The number of guys we walked in Kansas City was frightening."

In that four-game series, the Angels issued 15 free passes in 18 1/3 innings, allowing 14 runs, 11 earned, for a 5.40 ERA. Scioscia wouldn't use the weather as an excuse, but it's a jolt to any system going from the mild climates of Arizona and Southern California to a Midwestern deep freeze.

Since thawing out in Florida during a two-game sweep of the Rays, the Angels' bullpen has been nails.