Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Angels haven't learned anything from last year.
Another slow start has fans more than a little worried.
After Kevin Jepsen's meltdown in the seventh inning of Tuesday's home opener against the Oakland A's, followed by another bullpen collapse on Wednesday, the Angels now sit with a 2-6 record to start the season.
After last year's 6-14 start in the month of April, the last thing in the world the Angels wanted or needed was a repeat performance.
Manager Mike Scioscia may not be helping his own cause. In that fateful seventh inning on Tuesday, Scioscia elected to keep Jepsen in the game to face the left-handed-hitting John Jaso. Scioscia had lefty Sean Burnett in the bullpen, but Burnett wasn't even warming up at the time.
Jaso promptly deposited a Jepsen fastball into the right-field seats for a go-ahead three-run homer.
Jepsen would give up another homer to left-handed hitter Brandon Moss as well.
Scioscia said after the game that Burnett wasn't going to work until the eighth inning.
“He had a blister two days ago on his throwing hand,” Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “I think he had an inning in him, but if he had to throw 30-35 pitches, that wasn’t going to happen. We felt Jepsen could get us out of that inning, but it went the other way.”
Burnett, however, disputed that claim.
“I was 100 percent tonight,” Burnett said. “It was that one day in Texas. It’s fine now. The nail came off my middle finger a little bit. It wasn’t really a blister. It was a one-day thing. It happens every now and then with me.”
It seems that communication is all of a sudden an issue. If Burnett indeed was okay, why wouldn't he have been brought in to face Jaso?
If the Angels want to avoid what happened last year, they need to deviate from a set plan every now and then. Holding Burnett until the eighth inning on Tuesday certainly did nothing to avoid extending the Angels' slow start.