04/17/12 3:01 AM ET
Scioscia not sweating Angels' early struggles
By AJ Cassavell / Special to MLB.com
"I'm going to bet every team in baseball at some point last year went through a 3-6 stretch," the Angels manager said. "Ours is the beginning of the season, and ours is very tangible about why it's happening."
Scioscia, of course, was referring to his much-hyped starting pitching, which has gotten off to a rough start to the season. The Angels' staff entered Monday with a 5.23 ERA on the year and has received just two quality starts since Jered Weaver's on Opening Day.
"It's an area that we have so much confidence in that there's no doubt that we're going to get more than three quality starts every nine games as we move through the season," Scioscia said.
A calm Scioscia addressed the media Monday afternoon after the club's red-eye flight back from New York -- where the Angels lost their third straight series to start the season. He said there isn't any reason to change up the club's routine or even address his players about the struggles.
"There's nothing that points to focus, there's nothing that points to lack of effort, there's nothing that points to preparation," Scioscia said. "There's nothing that points to any other reason you might have a full team meeting to try and change a pattern or the direction of a club. These guys are out there busting their butts -- maybe a little bit too hard."
Despite late flight, Halos regulars stay in lineup
ANAHEIM -- Despite a late flight Sunday night that resulted in Mike Scioscia arriving home to Monday's newspaper at his doorstep, the Angels manager opted to play most of his regulars Monday night against Oakland.
The only change Scioscia made defensively was substituting Peter Bourjos in the outfield for Bobby Abreu. The slumping Kendrys Morales got the start at designated hitter over Mark Trumbo, but otherwise the starting nine remained the same.
After a 5 p.m. PT first pitch Sunday night in New York, the Angels' plane arrived after 4 a.m. Monday morning. Scioscia and some of his players didn't arrive home until after 6.
"The schedule is demanding for every team in baseball," Scioscia said. "You play the games when they come up, and you play them when you have to travel, and that's just part of baseball. West Coast travel is tough, but it's nothing these guys haven't dealt with and dealt with well."
Scioscia canceled Monday's batting-practice session, opting instead to allow his players to get their reps in the underground batting cages. The dress times for the players were also about an hour later than usual.
Although the lineup was virtually unchanged Monday, Scioscia said he might tweak it before Tuesday's game.
"Our experience tells us that usually today is OK. You still have adrenaline," Scioscia said. "Tomorrow there could be a little bit of a letdown. We'll see how these guys feel."
It wasn't just Sunday's game that presented the Angels with an odd schedule. Thus far, they have been part of three home openers, an off-day on a Tuesday, a post-travel day game on a Monday and a day game on a Friday -- all rarities in baseball.
With the calendar finally returning to normal after the Opening Week festivities, Scioscia said he is looking forward to falling into routine. But he was adamant in saying the strange schedule had nothing to do with his team's 3-6 record.
"The schedule is the schedule," Scioscia said. "That's it. Not an issue."
As for the late -- or early -- arrival Monday, Scioscia took the it-could-be-worse stance. "We're OK," he said. "We beat rush-hour traffic."
Lefty Downs strong in return from twisted ankle
ANAHEIM -- Angels reliever Scott Downs pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his first game back after twisting his right ankle covering first base on Thursday in Minnesota.
Downs underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed no significant damage, and manager Mike Scioscia said had the club needed Downs on Sunday, he would have used the veteran left-hander.
In 3 1/3 innings this season, Downs hasn't allowed a run and has surrendered three hits, including a double to Josh Reddick in Monday's 6-0 victory.
Scioscia also said righty reliever Bobby Cassevah is close to returning after he began the season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
Cassevah hasn't allowed a run in each of his four one-inning outings with Class A Inland Empire. Scioscia said his velocity has improved since he began throwing there.
AJ Cassavell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.