By now you are familiar with the popular narrative of the Angels' season: The organization formerly known for pitching, defense and small ball has been wearing down opponents with a deep, relentless offense. The pitching you know as mediocre, but hey, that's OK when everyone in the lineup is hitting around .300.
Well, there's one small problem with that characterization these days: It's flat out not true. The Los Angeles Angels are a better pitching team than you think. Suddenly, no team is heading into the postseason with a deeper rotation than the Angels.
"This is the best rotation we've had here in 10 years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said last weekend in Texas, referring to his tenure with the club. "We feel every night the opponent is going to have to earn the runs they get."
Sometimes numbers, like day-old bread and Kanye West jokes, grow stale. The 2009 season numbers suggest that the Angels indeed are challenged on the mound. Their 4.52 ERA would be their worst since Scioscia took over in 2000. After boasting a top-five staff for five years running, their ERA ranking of 10th in the league would be their worst since 1996. They've tried 14 starters, just three short of the franchise record for such auditions set back in 1967, and 25 pitchers overall, equaling the most under Scioscia. So where does this "best rotation in 10 years" stuff come from? The Angels have a much better staff in the past month than they did in the first five months.