8/15/2013 7:04 P.M. ET
Angels getting peek at new faces in lineup
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Angels are almost unrecognizable at this point.
Injuries to Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Peter Bourjos, plus the trades of Scott Downs and Alberto Callaspo and the demotion of Tommy Hanson made the team that finished off a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday vastly different from the one that opened the season at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on April 1.
Of the 25 players on the Angels' active roster, eight weren't with the club on Opening Day. And five of those players -- outfielders Kole Calhoun and Collin Cowgill, plus infielders Grant Green, Chris Nelson and Tommy Field -- started games in this series.
"We do have a lot of new faces," first baseman Mark Trumbo said. "If you said at this point this was the roster we'd have out there, I don't think a lot of people would've believed you."
Wilson supports proposed replay expansion
NEW YORK -- Thursday's 8-4 win at Yankee Stadium had just finished, so C.J. Wilson hadn't heard much about Major League Baseball's proposal to greatly expand instant replay beyond boundary calls on home runs.
Whatever it takes to get calls right, though, Wilson is all for it.
"The biggest thing is we want the calls to be right, and we've had some instances where the calls haven't been right over the last couple years," Wilson said. "That's why we've got the replay."
The proposal -- which was presented at the Owners Meetings in Cooperstown, N.Y., but still needs to be voted on in November -- is centered around managers being able to "challenge" an umpire's call, similar to the National Football League.
Managers would get one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game. If the manager wins the appeal, he retains the challenge (though the challenge from the first six innings does not carry over).
It gives managers something extra to worry about during a game, but Wilson doesn't see that as an issue.
"All the managers make a lot of money," said Wilson, who's also the Angels' union rep. "They are paid to make these decisions. I'm sure they'll adapt to it as they see fit. If you give a manager more control versus less control, I think they'd appreciate that."
As for prolonging games?
"Whatever, games are long anyway," Wilson said. "If it takes an extra two minutes, so be it. I think people would rather have the result of the game, which is set in stone after it's finished, be right. I don't think game length should be a consideration."
In offseason, Halos will re-emphasize pitching
NEW YORK -- The 2013 season was among the most anticipated in Angels history, and it's setting up to be the worst in Mike Scioscia's tenure in Anaheim.
The Angels entered Thursday's series finale at Yankee Stadium with a four-game losing streak and eight losses in their last 10 games. At 53-66, they were a season-high 13 games under .500. In order to avoid their first 90-loss season since 1999 -- the year before Scioscia took over as skipper -- they have to do better than 19-24 the rest of the way.
This offseason, the Angels' focus will be simple: Pitching, pitching, pitching.
"There's no doubt that pitching is going to be an important focus in the offseason, as it always is, really," Scioscia said. "I don't think there's any doubt that some guys on our pitching staff have underperformed. Our bullpen has underperformed with most of the guys, because of some guys being banged up. I'm sure [general manager Jerry Dipoto is] going to take a very close look at it, and we'll see where everything leads.
The Angels entered Thursday ranked 11th in the American League in starting-pitcher ERA (4.54) and 13th in relief-pitcher ERA (4.42).
How bad has it gone? Look no further than the four arms the team introduced at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney in early December: Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson.
Madson was never able to recover from Tommy John surgery in April 2011 and was released Aug. 6. Burnett appeared in 13 games before being shut down with a torn flexor tendon, though the Angels expect him to be ready to go for Spring Training. Blanton went 2-13 with a 5.66 ERA as a starter and has been pitching in mop-up duty for about a month. And Hanson is in Triple-A, working on mechanical issues after posting a 5.59 ERA in his first 13 starts.
Pitching and defense used to be a staple of Scioscia's Angels. This past offseason, they hoped to build a pitching staff that could hold its own while an offense led by Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton carried them.
Neither component has worked out.
"We have the potential to still do some of the things that we did on the pitching end, and it just didn't fall into place," Scioscia said. "I don't think the organizational philosophy changed, that because you signed Josh and Albert the last couple of years you aren't putting attention on the biggest area of the game, which is pitching and defense. It just hasn't fallen into place."
• Mike Trout went 1-for-3 in the Angels' 8-4 win over the Yankees on Thursday to extend his on-base streak to 37 games, which his second to only Orlando Cabrera (63) in club history.
• Ernesto Frieri, recently demoted from the closer's role, pitched a scoreless eighth inning, giving up one hit and striking out two. Frieri pitched with a seven-run lead after the Angels scored five runs in the top half of the inning. Scioscia was planning to use him as his setup man on Thursday and said he could be in the mix to close again in the near future.
• Erick Aybar returned to the starting lineup for Thursday's series finale. The Angels' shortstop exited Tuesday's game before the bottom of the third inning with a cramp in his left calf and then sat out Wednesday, but he took part in pregame activities and expected to be fine the next day.
• Scioscia beamed Thursday morning when reminded of his son, Matt, coming through with a walk-off hit for the Class A Burlington Bees on Wednesday night. Scioscia generally shies away from talking about his son and said: "He's going to climb his own mountain." Matt, taken in the 45th round in 2011, is 10-for-36 while playing first base and designated hitter in 10 games in the Midwest League.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.