Absent its anchors, bullpen steps up again
Alvarez, Bedrosian, Gott combine to get final 10 outs in 5-4 win
ANAHEIM -- In two games without closer Huston Street and setup man Joe Smith, the Angels' stretched-thin bullpen has already come up big twice. With six games left in the regular season, the Angels relievers' efforts have helped the Angels stay within a half game of the Astros for an American League Wild Card slot -- and pull within two games of the Rangers in the AL West after Monday's 5-4 walk-off win over the A's at Angel Stadium.
"Everybody has roles, and with Joe and I being down, guys have had to step up and pitch in different roles, and I think they should expect that of themselves," Street said. "Because they're good."
In Monday's series opener against Oakland, Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian and Trevor Gott combined to get the final 10 outs, a day after the bullpen recorded 12 outs in a victory over the Mariners.
"The bullpen's been throwing well without Joe and Huston," Gott said. "It's a struggle down there; we're just grinding. We've got six more -- at least."
On Monday, it wasn't just Street, with his left groin strain, and Smith, with his sprained left ankle, who were out. Mike Morin, who closed out Sunday's win, was down after pitching four of the previous five days. So was Fernando Salas, one of the Angels' main late-inning options, who had pitched in five of the last six.
With starter Hector Santiago exiting after 5 1/3 innings, that left the left-hander Alvarez to get three outs across the sixth and seventh, and young arms Bedrosian and Gott to get the last seven in a tie game.
"Cam Bedrosian came in there throwing BBs," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We haven't seen that stuff from Cam in a while. That was really encouraging. His stuff was live. And Trevor Gott just keeps ticking along."
Bedrosian ended the seventh inning with a big swinging strikeout of Brett Lawrie with a runner on second base, then got the first two outs of the eighth. Gott entered and pitched the next 1 1/3 innings, including pitching around a leadoff single in the ninth and getting the last two outs with a runner in scoring position.
The second out of the ninth, a groundout from Billy Burns, came on a first-pitch curveball from Gott. The right-hander, who throws a fastball in the upper 90s, rarely throws his curve, but he said he needs the secondary offering to offset his fastball, and his command of the pitch has been improving in his last few outings.
And Gott's just been one of a slew of relievers who have been proving their value to the Angels when it's needed most.
"This is the time you've got to step up," Bedrosian said. "We're here for a reason. We're not just here to fill spots."