The Los Angeles Angels will be without their closer as Huston Street has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique. The last time he pitched was this past Saturday in which he earned his fifth save of the still young 2016 season.
The 32-year old Street has been the Angels' closer for two and a half seasons. Through his 96.1 innings with the Angels, Street has struck out 84 batters, issued 29 walks, and given up 80 hits including nine round-trippers. Street's 62 saves rank him seventh all-time in Angels' franchise history.
Despite not blowing a save so far in 2016, Street has escaped some early season struggles. His strikeout rate has dipped to 14.3 percent -- down from 22.4 percent last year and a 24.8 percent career norm. Of the 28 batters Street has faced, only four have been retired via the strikeout. At this early stage in the season, Street's sinker also seems to be down by a couple miles per hour. Furthermore, none of his pitches have topped 90mph so far.
While resting his oblique on the disabled list, the likely candidate for the closing role will be Joe Smith. The 32-year old side-armer has already allowed two home runs over 12 innings pitched this season. To compound matters, both homers were given up late in a tie game against the Minnesota Twins when Oswaldo Arcia and Byung-ho Park went back-to-back . Trusting him with high leverage innings going forward seems suspect.
Smith recorded a save Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals, during which he faced the minimum three batters and gave up only one hit.
If Smith falters while Street is on the disabled list, it's unclear how short his leash will be. It's not as though the Angels have a particularly strong bullpen with many options at their disposal. However, Fernando Salas and Mike Morin may share the load. Salas has also given up a pair of home runs this season but his strikeout rate is more than double that of Smith's so far this season. Morin has been only slightly sturdier, though over a very limited workload.