Angels confident pitching will turn around

Angels confident pitching will turn around

ANAHEIM -- It was the suspected weakness going into camp, at the start of the regular season and even now after the Angels have opened with a 6-4 record.

Do they have enough starting pitching?

Theirs is a rotation without an ace, without a true No. 2 starter, and some might argue, even without an obvious No. 3 man.

Ten games into the season, the Angels' rotation is 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA -- the worst in Major League Baseball.

"We have a lot of confidence that they'll turn that around," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "There's no doubt these guys are going to pitch a little deeper and more effective."

The starters have barely averaged five innings per start. The Angels are 6-4 largely because of the early bullpen performance and an offense that engineered two ninth-inning comebacks.

Ricky Nolasco was their Opening Day starter, but he's now 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. He went five innings Thursday in an 8-3 loss to the Rangers, allowing five runs on eight hits, including two home runs. He's given up five home runs on the season, tied for most in the American League.

"It's April. Everybody is still getting feels," Nolasco said. "We're confident in the ability of each one of the five guys taking the ball every day. We'll get there.

"It's just a grind right now, and we're all trying to find some things. We're going to make the appropriate adjustments."

Danny Espinosa was traded to the Angels this offseason from the Nationals, who boast a staff led by Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

"Not every team has three of those guys," Espinosa said. "But we have some very good pitchers.

"We have the pitching, sometimes it just doesn't work out. But it's not that we don't believe in our pitching. We have a lot of trust and belief in our pitching."

The Angels' current rotation is Nolasco, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, Jesse Chavez, and now, JC Ramirez.

Ramirez, a career reliever, is taking the place of Garrett Richards, who is on the disabled list with a strained biceps. Richards was looking like a potential ace in 2014 when he started 13-4 with a 2.62 ERA, but then tore his left patella tendon and has battled injuries ever since.

"The snapshots of the first couple of times through the rotation, I think everybody can come to the same conclusion that they're just not getting to a certain point that we need," Scioscia said. "You can absorb it for a little bit.

"Our offense picked us up, our bullpen's picked up innings. But you're not going to finish well if that's going to be the rule of how they're going to pitch."

Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Angels on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.