07/16/11 3:55 PM ET
Trout continues to impress Scioscia
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"Let's narrow it down to what hasn't impressed me," Scioscia said.
And what might that be?
Trout has two hits in 13 Major League at-bats for a .154 average. But, as Scioscia pointed out, he has "hit the ball hard a number of times and gotten bunts down. He's not overmatched at the plate."
Trout, temporarily replacing Peter Bourjos in center field, is expected to be back in the Minor Leagues when he leaves his teens behind next month. His talent level and maturity at 19 are off the charts, in the view of the man who counts most.
"He's grown by leaps and bounds in the last year," Scioscia said. "He's not getting swallowed up by the opportunity to play in the big leagues. This experience will be something he'll hopefully look back on as very valuable as he continues his quest to be a big league player.
"It's crazy how mature this kid is. Physically, he's a specimen. You don't see guys with that size who can run like that short of the NFL combine. He's all about baseball. He understands the challenge of doing it every day. I don't think he's afraid to fail; he plays free. That's what you want from a young player."
All's Wells: Vernon back in cleanup spot
OAKLAND -- Vernon Wells was feeling much better on Saturday after a bout with a stomach virus. The Angels' left fielder was back in the cleanup spot for the first of two games in an old-fashioned doubleheader against the Athletics.
"We'll see how it goes in the first one," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said when asked if he thought Wells would be able to play both ends of the doubleheader.
It isn't a large sample size, but the numbers strongly suggest that the Angels are a better team when Wells is in the No. 4 spot. They are 23-7 when he hits cleanup, 27-36 when others (Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Alberto Callaspo) have manned the traditional power spot in the order.
Scioscia said there are other factors involved in the team's success with Wells batting fourth, notably the impact of Hunter and Abreu ahead of him and the likes of Howard Kendrick, Callaspo and Mark Trumbo behind him.
Scioscia also pointed out that his original lineup had Kendrys Morales batting fourth, with Wells behind him. With Morales out for the season, Trumbo has offset the power loss with 17 homers, while Wells is handling the cleanup challenge commendably after a rough start.
However you slice it, it's clear that the Angels took flight when Wells began launching big flies in the cleanup spot. Ten of his 13 homers and 24 of his 34 RBIs have come in that role. He's batting .283 with a .567 slugging mark in those 30 games batting fourth.
Power arms an Angels rotation specialty
OAKLAND -- If power pitching is your taste, the Angels should fill the order nicely. They were just the fifth team since World War II to come to the All-Star break with three pitchers in triple digits in strikeouts.
Two members of the threesome were on display in Saturday's doubleheader. Jered Weaver, the Majors' leader in strikeouts last year, brought 120 whiffs into the second half. Ervin Santana, set to work the nightcap, had 106. Dan Haren, who had two strikeouts on Friday night, had 117 at the break.
All that power pitching has kept batting averages down as well. Weaver is holding opponents to a .194 batting average, fourth in the Majors, while Haren is at .226, and Santana .249.
Weaver's MLB-leading 1.86 ERA is the lowest after 19 starts in franchise history. Haren, at 2.61, is the fourth best, behind Weaver, Frank Tanana (2.15, 1977) and Nolan Ryan (2.54, '79).
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.