The good kind of rotation uncertainty …
With Jered Weaver and Tommy Hanson returning and the pressure perceivably mounting, Joe Blanton bounced back, hurling two straight solid outings — the latest being seven innings of three-run ball in a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night — to keep his spot in the rotation.
Mike Scioscia — who, for the record, never publicly said Blanton’s spot was in jeopardy — confirmed that much after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss. But he also said Jerome Williams will get at least one more start — even though Weaver returns on Wednesday, Hanson has already been activated off the restricted list and, as Scioscia confirmed, every other starter is healthy.
“I think we’re looking at a couple things moving forward,” said Scioscia, who will announce a corresponding move for activating Weaver off the DL prior to Wednesday’s game. “Jerome has the ability to help us, if we need it, out of the bullpen if something were to happen in the next couple days. But we’ll give him the ball again and take a look at things and see how things settle. Whatever role settles for Jerome, it’ll be an important role. Like I said, there’s a lot of things that are still settling right now about where our rotation will be.”
After Weaver and Jason Vargas, who gets the ball on extended rest Thursday, the Angels haven’t announced their scheduled starters. Friday would seem to make the most sense for Hanson to start, six days after throwing 75 pitches in a sim game, but it’s also Williams’ turn in the order. C.J. Wilson, who suffered the loss on Monday, would come up on Saturday and the Angels don’t have an off-day until June 6 (nine days from now).
Williams (2.58 ERA on the year, 3.19 ERA in five starts) could eventually be the victim in an unfortunate numbers crunch, if all remains equal.
Asked if he feels he deserves to stay in the rotation, Williams said: “Yeah, of course. … But all I have to do is play it by ear. Whatever they decide, I have to respect and just go about my business and do my thing.” Asked about any pressure to stay in the rotation heading into Tuesday’s start, Blanton (1-8, 5.94 ERA) pointed to his track record in saying he doesn’t believe he has anything to prove. Asked a similar question postgame, the 32-year-old right-hander chose not to comment.
But his game did the talking.
“Joe’s hopefully turned a corner on his rough start,” Scioscia said. “He’s pitched strong baseball for us his last couple outing. He’s made some adjustments and we’re going to keep him in his role.”