Originally written on Monkey with a Halo  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Mlb-oakland-athletics-los
In 2012, the Angels tried that whole "most talented rotation in baseball" thing.  It was a real nice idea in theory, alas it was a borderline disaster in practice.  In reaction to that, Jerry Dipoto decided to go in the complete other reaction and build from the back of the pitching staff forward.  He replenished the overall depth and talent level of the bullpen merely plugged holes in the rotation.  It isn't sexy, but it is a strategy and maybe even a good one. In fact, one could argue that this is the very blueprint for constructing a pitching staff that Mike Scioscia had his most success with earlier in his tenure.  Scioscia masked the weakness of his starting pitchers by shortening games with his stellar relievers.  If the Angels had the lead after the sixth inning, the opponent was pretty much toast.  Or at least that is what our memories of the great Percival-K-Rod-Shields-Donnelly bullpens were able to accomplish. What we need to figure out is whether or not the stats back up that narrative, which I really hope it does because that seems to be what the Halo front office is banking on.  To determine the answer to that quandry, I've broken out the starting pitcher usage and the performance of the rotation and bullpen throughout the Scioscia era.  To show whether or not that usage actually paid dividends, I've also included the team's record and Pythagorean record as a finger in the air assessment of how much the Angels under- or over-achieved that season. YEAR Starter ERA IP/GS PITCHES/GS Bullpen ERA TEAM RECORD PYTHAG RECORD 2012 4.04 6.1 98 3.97 89-73 88-74 2011 3.59 6.4 101 3.52 86-76 85-77 2010 4.05 6.3 102 4.03 80-82 79-83 2009 4.44 5.9 97 4.49 97-65 92-70 2008 4.14 6.2 100 3.69 100-62 88-74 2007 4.22 6.0 97 4.24 94-68 90-72 2006 4.16 6.1 97 3.78 89-73 84-78 2005 3.75 6.3 97 3.52 95-67 93-69 2004 4.70 6.0 97 3.47 92-70 91-71 2003 4.90 5.7 94 3.15 77-85 80-82 2002 4.00 6.2 100 2.98 99-63 101-61 2001 4.49 6.2 98 3.54 75-87 77-85 2000 5.54 5.5 92 4.16 82-80 81-81 Clear as mud, right?  The year the Angel bullpen was at its best was during the 2002 championship season, but Scioscia also stuck with his starters pretty well that season too.  The next year was actually the best year for the bullpen both in terms of performance (excluding the 2002 season) and usage, but it was also the second-worst season the Angels ever had under Scioscia's reign.  This does not bode well. Things only get more confusing if you look at 2009.  The Halos won a ton of games that season and beat their expected record by a healthy margin.  Scioscia used the relievers a lot that season, but they were actually the worst they've been under his watch.  That just so happened to be the year the Angels scored a Scioscia-era high 883 runs.  Basically, the lineup was so good that it didn't matter how bad the pitching staff was.  That is definitely one way to win games and the 2013 Angels should have a strong lineup, but maybe not 883 runs strong. Fret not though for there is hope.  From 2006 through 2008, the Angels also wildly overachieved and did so with a middling rotation that they didn't ride into the ground like they have the last few seasons and also a good but not great bullpen.  It is hardly conclusive, but it does lend some credence to Dipoto's pitching staff plan.  Essentially, it suggests that the Angels could steal a few extra wins by going to the bullpen early and often. Of course, as in 2003 and 2004, if the starting pitching is outright putrid, that won't do any good.  The bullpen won't be able to protect leads that don't exist.  But with this bullpen, the Angels starters won't have to walk the tightrope for as long now, which is very good news considering that Hanson, Wilson and Richards all have shaky track records when it comes to going deep into games.  Now all they need to do is be at least half decent for five or six innings instead of seven,  If all goes according to plan, the bullpen should take care of the rest, [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

FA Cup Final: Arsenal earns record 12th title in 4-0 win over Aston Villa

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Klay Thompson's injury hurts Warriors' chances at NBA Title

Four former first-round picks playing for their NFL careers

NBA Finals: Cavs-Warriors lacks easy comparison and that's great

10 NFL storylines that headlined the past week

Blackhawks-Ducks Game 7 preview: Key players, prediction

Women’s World Cup power rankings: Which teams have the best shot at hoisting the trophy?

NBA Finals: A series 39 years in the making

WATCH: San Diego State player steals home to seal win

St. Thomas pitcher Ben Ancheff takes internet by storm

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.