8/8/2014 1:57 A.M. ET
August trades for rotation help are hard to come by
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- In Vinnie Pestano, the Angels acquired a veteran reliever who isn't far removed from Major League success (2.45 ERA in 137 appearances for the Indians from 2011-12) and comes with plenty of flexibility (he can be optioned to the Minors this year and next year).
What would really be great is if they could acquire the Pestano equivalent as a starting pitcher.
That's "really hard," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
"The idea that you can make the perfect acquisition for your rotation in August is not great, but there are going to be available options. We just have to determine what the right timing is, or if we need one."
Tyler Skaggs is currently sidelined for an indefinite amount of time because of a flexor strain in his left forearm and C.J. Wilson entered Thursday's game with a 12.50 ERA in his last five starts. That leaves their rotation quite vulnerable, with Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker being counted on to step up in support of Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards, and not much of a safety net in their Minor League system.
Dipoto pointed out that left-hander Wade LeBlanc, reacquired on June 17, has been pitching well at Triple-A Salt Lake, with a 2.52 ERA in his last six starts. Chris Volstad is also there, with a 5.18 ERA in four starts. But the Angels -- with money left in their budget -- will continue to monitor the waiver wire in hopes of landing additional starting-pitching depth.
"Unfortunately, we don't have the household name sitting in the 7 hole right now," Dipoto said. "I don't know that anyone really does. That's what August waivers are for. That's what our Minor League system is for."
Trout takes birthday moment to reflect
ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout turned 23 on Thursday, which didn't make him feel old but did prompt a rare moment of reflection.
"I was talking to [Jered Weaver], looking at how much time I have up here," Trout said. "After this year, it'll be over 3 years. It's been quick. I'm having fun here. This is where I want to be; can't ask for anything else."
Nor can the Angels.
Trout has posted a .318/.409/.566 slash line since his first full season in 2012. He's joined Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Mel Ott and Ted Williams as the only players to have multiple seasons of at least 25 homers, 80 RBIs, 100 runs and a batting average over .320 before turning 23. And based on Wins Above Replacement, he's the best player in history through his age-22 season, with a 26.5 score that barely tops Ty Cobb (25.5).
As Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "He's got a feeling of what he can do on the baseball field that 99 percent of us dream about."
It's been there since he was first called up, but it's ever-evolving. Scioscia has seen it show up in the way Trout plays center field, learning "not to overreact" with his positioning because "his speed is a difference-maker where he can shade and not have to overplay and still make the plays he needs to in the outfield."
Trout himself has noticed how experience has helped him improve in clutch situations.
"Being able to calm yourself, control your emotions," said Trout, whose first two walk-off homers have come this season. "It's tough when you have 40,000 people standing up, cheering for you. You want to get that big hit, but if you try to do too much, you get in trouble. You try to relax up there. It's tough, but when you get a feel for it, it's easier."
Trout -- batting .302 with 25 homers, 81 RBIs and 12 steals this season -- has never been considered a guy who doesn't come through in clutch situations, but he's producing a lot better under what Baseball-Reference calls "high leverage" situations.
Last year, Trout batted .257/.386/.327 in those circumstances.
This year, it's .363/.460/.725.
"First two years, it was all-out or nothing," Trout said. "But now, I try to relax up there, get my pitch and don't try to do too much."
Angels are doing well on FSW
ANAHEIM -- Three of the four highest-rated Angels telecasts on FOX Sports West to date came in the first three games of this Freeway Series, a byproduct of both the Angels' success and the fact that much of Los Angeles is unable to watch Dodgers broadcasts due to ongoing disputes between Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV providers.
Wednesday's contest from Angel Stadium topped Tuesday's game, which previously topped Monday's series opener, for the second-most-watched Angels game in FOX Sports West history, according to Nielsen. It drew 269,000 households and scored a household rating of 4.74.
The most watched game on FOX Sports West came on June 22, 1998, also between the Angels and Dodgers. According to a FOX Sports West representative, this is the Angels' highest-rated season in seven years.
• Thursday's attendance of 44,561 marked back-to-back sellouts and was the largest regular-season crowd at Angel Stadium since the ballpark was renovated in 1998.
• Mike Trout homered in each of his previous two birthdays, but went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk while turning 23 in the Angels' 7-0 loss to the Dodgers.
• Left-handed hitter Kole Calhoun was out of the starting lineup against a lefty for a second straight night, with the right-handed-hitting Collin Cowgill starting in right field and the switch-hitting Erick Aybar batting leadoff.
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.