Cory Rasmus' brief but superb start Saturday night, in which he allowed one hit and struck out six in three scoreless innings of a 2-0 win over the Oakland Athletics, gave the Angels some hope that they've found a replacement for the injured Garret Richards.
It would take Rasmus several starts to build up the endurance to go five or six innings, and Manager Mike Scioscia wouldn't commit to starting the 26-year-old right-hander again Saturday in Minnesota, but the Angels might not need Rasmus to chew up that many innings.
Having exhausted their efforts to trade for a veteran starter such as Bartolo Colon, Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill or A.J. Burnett, the Angels could fill Richards' spot by committee, an unconventional approach made possible by a deep and talented bullpen and an expanded September roster.
"We have the ability to put together a game with depth as opposed to relying on one guy, and right now, that's our best option," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "If we can get through the fifth or sixth inning of a game, then we have a particularly deep bullpen that can get us through in winning a game. We're not looking at this like it's doomsday."
The Angels, needing length in the bullpen this weekend, recalled Michael Roth from double-A Arkansas on Saturday, and the left-hander, who allowed one hit, walked two (one intentionally) and struck out one in the fourth inning Saturday night, could emerge as a rotation candidate.
The Angels did not announce that Rasmus would start Saturday until after Friday night's game, but his 49-pitch effort Saturday—and his five years experience as a minor league starter—could remove some of that uncertainty over the fifth rotation spot.
"Certainly, you want to get someone who can give you some kind of length as a starter, even if it's only five innings," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "If that surfaces, great. If it doesn't, then you mix and match as much as you need to.