The best thing the Angels have going for them in their effort to run down the first-place Texas Rangers is the three pitchers at the front of their rotation -- Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
Unfortunately for the Angels, they can't have one of those three going for them every night.
"We're going to need five guys pitching well if we're going to reach our goal," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said recently.
But Scioscia has been unsuccessfully searching for the fourth and fifth starter to fill out that rotation all season. Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro were the first options. Kazmir flamed out in one start and was released. Pineiro spent time on the DL and was bumped from the rotation after a string of poor performances in the second half.
Rookies Tyler Chatwood and Garrett Richards have had their chances with predictably uneven results. Chatwood was sent back to Class AAA in August and returned Friday to start in place of Weaver, whose start was pushed back a day. Chatwood was not good. He allowed six runs on five hits and five walks in just 3 2/3 innings.
Since the start of July, the Angels' front three of Weaver, Haren and Santana have gone 19-7 with a 2.87 ERA and the Angels are 25-10 in those games. In the 21 games started by other pitchers, though, the Angels are 7-14 and that group (Pineiro, Richards, Chatwood and Jerome Williams) has a 6.48 ERA, barely averaging five innings per start.
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