CHICAGO -- Tyler Skaggs returned to the rotation Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field and created a "problem" that Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't in a hurry to solve.
Rather than bumping somebody from the rotation to make room for Skaggs, who'd been on the 15-day disabled list since June 10 with a hamstring strain, Scioscia is sticking with a six-man rotation for one more turn.
A doubleheader Tuesday that was caused by a rainout made the decision easier, creating a need for six starters in a five-day span to keep all arms adequately rested. Now those six starters will get one more turn in the rotation.
"With doubling up on starters with a doubleheader, we'll have to get one more guy in there to make sure that somebody will pitch on normal rest," Scioscia said Wednesday, before the Angels failed to sweep the Chicago White Sox by losing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. "You wouldn't want one guy coming back on short rest."
That plan means putting off a decision on whom to bump: right-hander Matt Shoemaker or left-hander Hector Santiago. Each has pitched well in Skaggs' absence, so it w*on't be an easy call.
Shoemaker (5-2, 4.50 ERA) will start Thursday at home against the Houston Astros and Santiago (0-7, 4.08) is scheduled to start Saturday in the third game of that series.
"For us right now, fortunately we fill out our rotation so that everyone gets their rest and then see where we go," Scioscia said. "We have a lot of guys that have thrown the ball well, so we're very comfortable in the fact that we can still put a pitcher out there who's going to give us a chance to win."
It's become a nice luxury to have for Scioscia, whose starters have posted a combined 35 wins thus far, which was tied for second-most in the American League coming into the game Wednesday. Angels starters were also ranked fourth in the AL in ERA (3.73) and fourth in innings pitched (506 1/3).
Shoemaker and Santiago have solidified the bottom of the rotation, but the top three of right-hander Jered Weaver, right-hander Garrett Richards and left-hander C.J. Wilson have been rock solid. Now Skaggs is back in the picture, adding a second left-handed arm to the mix.
"I think that where we are right now, as far as with our head above water, hopefully working towards the pennant race, is in large part due to what our starting rotation's done," Scioscia said. "They've pitched deep into games on a nightly basis and we need that to continue. On the offensive side, we're doing a lot of good things, but I think the heartbeat of our club is in our rotation, and those guys have really been giving us a chance to win almost every night."