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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The bullpen finds its collective groove

By Mark Saxon

This Angels' bullpen is showing signs of extreme streakiness.

What was a daily mess in Kansas City has suddenly become the strength of the team.

Through the first five games, Angels relievers pitched 18 1/3 innings, had a 5.40 ERA and gave up 21 hits. Batters were hitting .280 off them.

In the five games since then, Angels relievers have pitched 17 innings, have yet to give up an earned run and have allowed six hits. Hitters are batting .103 off them.

Which is the real identity of this group of pitchers? Probably somewhere in the middle, but a little movement of the furniture -- shifting Fernando Rodney from the ninth to the eighth inning and adding veteran Scott Downs -- should help in the long run.

It’s looking like the Angels are building around a pitching-and-defense kind of model, so a little more consistency out of the bullpen will be crucial.