SEATTLE — Noah Syndergaard is nearly half a season into life in a six-man rotation, and he said he has “no complaints.”
“I like it,” the Angels right-hander said. “It gives you time to just be better in all regards, physically, mentally, on the mound. It gives you an opportunity to be as fresh as possible. It feels kind of weird that I have the same schedule I had in high school.”
Syndergaard and the rest of the Angels starters have all pitched on at least five days rest the entire season. Often, they’ve taken advantage of off days to add a sixth day. Last week the Angels even pushed their starters back an extra day, so they pitched on seven days rest.
Although some pitchers would balk at so much rest beyond the traditional four days, Syndergaard said it works well for him because he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. He pitched just two innings in the previous two seasons combined.
The only other veteran in the Angels’ rotation is Michael Lorenzen, and he’s starting for the first time since 2015. The most innings he pitched as a reliever was 83, and he’s already at 65 this season.
“It’s been perfect,” Lorenzen said. “I feel fresh every start. I found a really good routine quicker than I thought. And I think picking Noah’s brain, seeing what he likes to do and then seeing what other guys have done has helped out a ton. … A lot of the time, two extra days is huge. So I feel great.”
The extra rest obviously works for Shohei Ohtani, too, because he’s a two-way player. He’s never pitched in the majors on four days rest.
Otherwise, the Angels’ starters are young pitchers who still have not gone through even a single full season in a big league rotation.
Patrick Sandoval hasn’t pitched more than 87 innings in the majors — or 122-1/3 combined innings between the majors and minors. He’s already at 60 innings. Reid Detmers only pitched 82-2/3 innings between the majors and minors in his only other professional season, and he’s pitched 53 this season.
The top five starters have combined for a 3.73 ERA.
The No. 6 spot, however, has been a revolving door, with José Suarez, Chase Silseth, Jhonathan Diaz and Kenny Rosenberg having turns. The Angels’ inability to get a consistent sixth starter begs the question of whether they’d be willing to compress their rotation late in the season and have their top starters work on four days rest, although perhaps Ohtani still wouldn’t.
“I think what we’re doing with them right now is helping create the argument for that later in the season,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “I could see that happening at some point.”
“I think we’re going to be more rested than every other rotation, so you can get creative that way,” he said. “But that’s up to (general manager Perry Minasian) and Phil.”
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
As Nevin sat in his office speaking to reporters on Sunday morning, the Baltimore Orioles game was on the television overhead. Nevin was keeping tabs on his son, Tyler, who is the Orioles’ third baseman.
Although Tyler played briefly in the big leagues last season, he didn’t get the chance to play against the New York Yankees when his father was the third base coach. Tyler was also in the minors when the Orioles played in Anaheim earlier this season.
Assuming Tyler stays in the big leagues for a few more weeks, their chance will come from July 7-10, when the Angels are in Baltimore.
Phil Nevin said he thinks about that meeting “all the time,” and he admitted that “our conversations have gotten a little bit different lately,” suggesting that Tyler isn’t giving his father as much detailed information about the inner workings of the Orioles.
“I’m sure that day will be crazy, emotional, a lot of things going on,” Phil Nevin said, “but once we get on the field and get going, we’ve got four games there, so hopefully we’ll get all the stuff out of the way on the first day.”
The Angels optioned Jack Mayfield to create a spot for Rosenberg, who started on Sunday.
Angels (RHP Noah Syndergaard, 4-5, 3.53) vs. Royals (LHP Kris Bubic, 0-4, 8.36), Monday, 6:38 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM