08/10/11 6:45 PM ET
Climb up standings not distracting Angels
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
By climbing to a season-high 12 games over .500 with Tuesday's series-opening 6-4 victory over the Yankees, the Angels moved to an AL-best 33-16 since June 13.
They've kept pace with the Rangers in the AL West, but with another win or two against the Yankees this weekend, the Halos can factor into the AL Wild Card race as well.
"Our philosophy is the standings are your report card, and if you focus on the report card, you lose the day-to-day approach you need to reach your goal," Angels skipper Mike Scioscia said. "There's time to look at the standings, time to see where you are, but the first week in August is not that time."
Through 116 games last season, the Angels -- who have won the division five times since 2004 -- were 59-57 and 7 1/2 games back of first place.
"Adjusting your rotation for matchups and everything is too early to look at now, but it's something you'll certainly be aware of as you make that turn into September and could influence some of the moves you make if you're in the hunt or depending on the division position you're in," Scioscia said.
Among Halos rookies, 'nobody's overwhelmed'
NEW YORK -- Mike Scioscia insists it has nothing to do with any sort of change in philosophy since he first took over as Angels skipper in 2000.
But this year, he acknowledged, the club has relied on youth more than maybe any other before. The reason? It's simply necessity.
"There's no doubt that this year's depth chart has a lot more youth on it than probably since the first year we've been here," Scioscia said. "Those guys are on the depth chart, and when their opportunity comes up, if they're ready for a challenge, [they'll play]. ... This year, we've had to lean more on younger guys, and there's been more of a transition than there has been in the last couple years."
Most notably, the Angels have leaned on slugger Mike Trumbo, who is just the sixth Halos player to hit 20 or more homers his rookie year. He's on pace to be the first rookie to lead the club in both homers (he entered Wednesday with 22) and RBIs (63).
"It's one thing to be young, but nobody's overwhelmed," Trumbo said. "I think everybody here feels they can contribute. A lot of the guys we do have here that are young, we're all cast out of that same mold -- gritty, no-nonsense type guys who are just here to compete. We don't really care about all the other stuff; we're just here to win."
They've done so, as the core of youngsters like Trumbo, starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood and center fielder Peter Bourjos have helped keep the Angels on the heels of the Rangers in the contentious American League West.
On Wednesday, the Angels welcomed starter Garrett Richards into the mix for his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium. He became the 14th Angel to make his debut with the club in the last two seasons, with 11 players on the club's current 25-man roster having less than two years of MLB service time.
"It's nice having guys that you come up with the last four, five, six years that know your game and know what to look for when things are going right, and vice versa," Trumbo said. "For me, it's been great having Peter around because Peter and I have played together for five years now. It's a big thing to have guys who can spot things that guys we haven't been around for so long might not be able to see."
To make room for right-hander Garrett Richards, who started on Wednesday night against the Yankees, the Angels optioned left-hander Horacio Ramirez to Triple-A Salt Lake and transferred Francisco Rodriguez to the 60-day disabled list.
Ramirez had an 11.25 ERA in five appearances (four innings) with the Angels this season, walking two while striking out one.
With a two-run ninth-inning homer off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Tuesday night's win, Angels designated hitter Bobby Abreu became just the second former Yankee to homer off Rivera. He joins Mike Stanley, who accomplished the feat on July 18, 1998.