The MLB season has been postponed until further notice because of concerns around the Coronavirus, which actually helps the Los Angeles Angels.
The Los Angeles Angels‘ biggest hole heading into the offseason was the starting rotation and while the front office added arms, it did not do much to completely make it better. The team signed Julio Teheran and traded for Dylan Bundy to fill out a rotation with mediocre arms.
However, the front office doubled-down on the offensive side of the ball by signing the biggest position player of free agency, Anthony Rendon. With a quietly solid bullpen, the Angels just need the starting rotation to be good enough to win enough games to make the playoffs.
Angel fans have to wait to see this team in action, however, as the MLB season has been postponed amidst concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. A concrete return date has not been announced with the earliest possible return date being May 10, as that would follow the CDC’s eight-week recommendation of no gatherings of more than 50 people.
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It is unclear whether MLB wants to run a two/three-week ‘Summer Training’ to get the players in form or if they are going to jump straight into it.
It also is not clear if the team is going to extend the season and still try to play 162 games or if they will simply play a reduced season. The league is currently figuring these things out as we speak and we will get an answer as we get closer to May 10.
For the Los Angeles Angels, a shortened season would actually benefit the pitching staff ten-fold and could be the difference of being a playoff team and not being a playoff team.
There are two reasons. First, this obviously reduces the workload of the starting rotation. For a team that is known for getting injuries at the least optimal time, this helps reduce the risk of wavering off down the stretch as the rotation is running on fumes.
Second of all, and more importantly, it gives Shohei Ohtani a chance to be in the starting rotation for the entire season. The Angels want to limit Ohtani’s innings, as he is coming off Tommy John and were not expecting him to pitch until mid-May.
That lines right up with the best-case scenario return date and if everything goes smoothly for both the country and for the Angels, Ohtani very well could be the team’s ‘Opening Day’ starter and pitch for the entirety of the reduced season.
This not only gives the team a legitimate ace for the entire year but also helps take some weight off the starting rotation as they could run a six-man rotation.
The Los Angeles Angels’ pitching staff is going to determine how good the team performs this year and getting a little bit less of a season to work with is actually an ideal thing for the team.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.