ANAHEIM -- The Angels are only nine games into the 2017 season, but a troubling trend has already emerged regarding their starting pitching.
So far, the Halos have been unable to get consistent length from their starters, none of whom have managed to pitch past the sixth inning. Only one member of their rotation, Ricky Nolasco, has produced a six-inning outing, which is the fewest of all Major League clubs.
"It's important," manager Mike Scioscia said of his starters' ability to pitch deep into games. "No doubt it's important. I don't think it serves any purpose to look at them as a group because they're five individuals. Each one has different keys, each one has different things they need to work on."
On Wednesday night, right-hander Jesse Chavez could not make it out of the fifth, surrendering five runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings in the Angels' 8-3 loss to the Rangers, which snapped their four-game winning streak.
Chavez, who pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his Angels debut last week, yielded a pair of homers in the second to Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus and then gave up a trio of runs in the fifth, when he allowed the first four batters of the inning to reach base before recording an out. Chavez was lifted with his pitch count at 67 after Scioscia decided to bring in left-hander Jose Alvarez to face lefty bat Shin-Soo Choo with a runner on first and the Rangers ahead, 5-3.
"Jesse got into some bad counts and was just missing with some pitches," Scioscia said. "He just wasn't as effective as he was his other outing."
Though their rotation has struggled to eat up innings, the Angels have still managed to win six of their first nine games thanks to a resilient offense and a bullpen that has been effective despite its heavy workload. Still, the Halos realize that their success will likely be unsustainable without more steady production from their rotation.
"Other than one guy, it's been us four that haven't been able to pitch deep into the ballgame, and that's something that we got to nip in the bud before it's too late," Chavez said. "It's our job to be efficient and pitch deep into ballgames and keep our pitch count down. It's early, and it's something that we don't ever want to happen this early because we want all our guys fresh, that's something that us five have to take pride in."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.