Five things to take from Angels’ 6-3 loss to the Houston Astros

 

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels

 

David DeJesus got off to a rough start in his first game, striking out three times while going 0-for-4. Normally, DeJesus will platoon with Shane Victorino in left field, but DeJesus was in center for this one because Mike Trout missed his second consecutive game with a sore wrist. David Murphy, one of the other new Angels, went 1-for-4 while playing left field. At least he didn’t strike out.

– The Astros re-took sole possession of first place in the AL West with this victory. The Angels, who recently led by two games, have gone 1-5 after a 20-game span in which they went 17-3.

Albert Pujols hit his 30th home run, becoming the sixth player to hit at least 30 home runs in 13 seasons, the first to do it in his first 15 campaigns.

Trout missed his second consecutive game with a sore left wrist. Manager Mike Scioscia told the Associated Press before the game that Trout is getting better, but that he wanted to “err on the side of caution.”

– Not a terrific performance by starting pitcher Garrett Richards. Not horrible, though. He allowed four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. What’s interesting is that he struck out just three even though he is throwing hard. It’s been a season-long curiosity. Richards struck out 164 in 168 2/3 innings before his season ended with a serious knee injury in August. He averaged 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He has just 91 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings this season, a 6.7 average.

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Mike Scioscia: Kole Calhoun could be best right-fielder in AL

Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels, MLB.com

 

Never put it past a manager to exaggerate the talents of one of his players. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t seem to be dealing in hyperbole when he talks about his right-fielder, Kole Calhoun.

Calhoun on Saturday night made a spectacular fully laid-out diving catch of a line drive hit by the Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor in the eighth inning of the Rangers’ 7-6 victory. Texas had just gone ahead and there were two runners on when Calhoun came through. It wasn’t the first time Calhoun did that, it probably won’t the the last.

With that ability as well as a terrific throwing arm, Scioscia calls Calhoun one of the best corner outfielders in the American League. Perhaps the best right-fielder.

“I think he’s as good as there is in right field, I think he’s gold-glove caliber,” Scioscia said. “I don’t think there’s a right-fielder that stops the first and third like he can, not in the way he charges the ball with his arm and his accuracy.

“And I think that when you have a guy like Mike Trout in center, I think it really enhances what guys can do on the wings and he takes advantage of that. I don’t know if there’s a better defensive right-fielder that we’ve seen than Kole.”

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Mike Scioscia liked what he saw from C.J. Wilson on Friday

C.J. Wilson

C.J. Wilson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels

 

C.J. Wilson has had an up-and-down season for the Angels. Friday’s performance against the Boston Red Sox was one of his best starts of the campaign.

He tossed eight innings and gave up five hits and no runs while striking out four and walking three in the Angels’ 1-0 victory that came to an end when Mike Trout hit a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Wilson didn’t get the victory, but he received plenty of praise from manager Mike Scioscia.

“There are some guys in there in that lineup that will let you know if you’re missing spots and he just got some big outs,” Scioscia said. “I thought he used all his pitches. Didn’t bring his curveball into the game until maybe a little bit later. But had good fastball command, good changeup, cutter, used the slider well.”

 

 

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Mike Scioscia says he was comfortable dealing with now-former GM Jerry Dipoto

Jerry Dipoto has reportedly resigned after 3 1/2 years as the Angels general manager after allegedly butting heads with Angels...

Jerry Dipoto/Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

 

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was fielding questions during a post-game news conference following Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium. It was the same day general manager Jerry Dipoto resigned amid what some perceived to be a power struggle with Scioscia, though Scioscia denied they were in one.

However, with former GM Bill Stoneman taking the job as interim GM, Scioscia was asked if he expects it will be easier to work with Stoneman than it was working with Dipoto, with whom Scioscia had issues that dated to 2012 when Dipoto fired hitting instructor Mickey Hatcher.

Scioscia, who in 2000 was hired by Stoneman, shot down the notion that he was uncomfortable working with Dipoto.

“First of all, I felt very comfortable dealing with Jerry,” Scioscia said. “Like I’ve said, we had a very honest and frank relationship as far as how we felt. Didn’t always agree, so I don’t think this was – I can only speak from my end of it – it wasn’t a comfort-level problem at all.

“I think the fact that Bill’s coming back is, you know, we’re all familiar with the way he goes about preparing every day, we’re very familiar with what his expectations are for us on a daily basis and we’re very confident in the fact that he’s going to continue do things that are going to help us improve this year and, hopefully, make a run we feel is going to eventually evolve into a championship-caliber club.”

The Angels (41-38) on Friday begin a three-game series at Texas. They will then go to Colorado for two interleague games and then to Seattle for four games leading into the All-Star break.

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