8/10/2014 5:28 A.M. ET
Trout patient, but not afraid to go after first pitch
By Matthew DeFranks / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- As the Angels wait for their offense to burst from its slumber, Mike Trout waits as well -- but his waiting isn't new.
Trout, who entered play Saturday hitting just .247 in the second half, has remained patient in the batter's box despite his club's struggles, an attribute that helps him contribute in different ways.
The 23-year-old center fielder sees 4.46 pitches per plate appearance (second most in the Majors) and swings at the first pitch just 10.5 percent of the time (sixth in MLB). Trout said seeing a lot of pitches early helps him recognize the pitches in his next at-bat.
"I like to get more information for later at-bats, but sometimes you gotta go up there and hit that first pitch because they're grooving it in there," Trout said. "But I like to see a lot of pitches."
It's odd then, that Trout's last hit came on the first pitch. During Tuesday's game against the Dodgers, Trout lined Clayton Kershaw's first-pitch fastball down the line for a leadoff double in the third inning. Trout entered play Saturday having gone 0-for-14 since that at-bat.
But Trout said he'll stay patient during the hard times to avoid overstriding and "getting too big."
"When I'm aggressive, I get too big sometimes and get out of my swing and out of my mechanics," Trout said. "I'm relaxed up there and not trying to hit the ball so hard."
Trout has had only 20 one-pitch at-bats this season, with his .300 average in that scenario nearly mirroring his season average (.298).
Trout's patience has led to deep counts, yielding 62 walks (third in the American League) but also 123 strikeouts, the second-highest total in the AL.
"Mike's ability to get into deep counts is something that, at times, is a double-edged sword, because you are going to put yourself in a position to strike out a little more, but you're also in a position to see a lot of pitches, to time pitches, to draw walks and be extremely productive," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Scioscia: No plans to reshuffle Halos' lineup
ANAHEIM -- Despite the offense's recent struggles, manager Mike Scioscia said there were likely no lineup shakeups coming in the near future.
"I think you would look at juggling the lineup if it was going to shock some guys and get them in a different neighborhood," Scioscia said. "To maybe get them to see different pitches or put them in some different situations that might come up.
"When you have a lot of guys, and we've had a lot of guys that have struggled for going on the better part of three weeks, I don't think any of us see any lineup shakeup that's going to move us forward and be positive."
The Angels entered play Saturday hitting just .225 and scoring only 3.2 runs per game since the All-Star break. In the first half, they averaged 5.1 runs and hit .269.
The Angels didn't take batting practice Saturday afternoon, an opportunity to "exhale," Scioscia said, but still trotted out a familiar lineup that featured Mike Trout batting second, Albert Pujols third and Josh Hamilton fourth.
"In the long term, the lineup that we have now makes the most sense," Scioscia said. "I think the things we've talked about all season are still in place, with letting Mike get up there with guys in scoring position and set the table for the power behind him, which Albert and Josh are hopefully going to provide."
The only meaningful change (other than the rotating door at designated hitter) recently has been shifting Erick Aybar to the leadoff spot when Kole Calhoun doesn't start. Scioscia said Aybar was in the No. 1 hole, in part, because Collin Cowgill wasn't ready to lead off after his recent DL stint.
The Angels still ranked second in the Majors in runs scored and were hitting. 261, good for fifth in baseball, entering play Saturday.
"With the way the guys are lined up now, we were as good of an offense as there was in baseball," Scioscia said. "I think you try to shock some guys, give them a new neighborhood on a short-term basis, but in the big picture, the way our guys are lined up makes a lot of sense for what we're trying to accomplish.
Angels may alter rotation for matchups
ANAHEIM -- With two off-days in the next six days, the Angels have a rare chance to shift their rotation, an opportunity manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels would probably capitalize on.
"There will be some things we're going to look at," Scioscia said. "We're going to see how guys come out of [their next starts], we'll have the opportunity to do some things."
Prior to Saturday's 19-inning marathon, the Angels were ready to trot out Matt Shoemaker and C.J. Wilson against the Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. But Shoemaker threw three innings of emergency relief Saturday to earn the win and was scratched from Tuesday's start.
Scioscia said Wilson would move up to take Shoemaker's spot. He did not announce a Wednesday starter, though it could be Shoemaker or Jered Weaver.
The two-game series against Philadelphia is sandwiched around off-days, the Angels' last of August. The club will play 17 straight days after Thursday's respite, including seven games against division-leading Oakland.
Will Scioscia line up his rotation to prepare for crucial series against the Athletics?
"That is a consideration," Scioscia said.
If the Angels kept their current rotation for the next two weeks, they would send out Hector Santiago, Shoemaker and Wilson at Oakland from Aug. 22-24.
They could, though, reshuffle the order and have Santiago pitch on his normal four days' rest next Friday, which would free up either Garrett Richards or Weaver to pitch against Oakland down the line.
What wasn't a consideration, according to Scioscia, was skipping the struggling Wilson's upcoming turn in the rotation. Scioscia also said bringing back guys on short rest simply to match up against a team was not an option.
"We have a long way to go and we need all five of these guys continuing to throw the ball well," Scioscia said. "If there's a possibility of matching up, you always try to take advantage of it, but that doesn't become the primary focus right now. That's secondary to making sure these guys get what they need and are strong and ready to go."
• Injured left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher said he was aiming to be back for the Oakland series in late August, barring a setback. That series would be three weeks since he injured his ankle against Tampa Bay fielding a ground ball, ahead of the four to six weeks initially expected.
Thatcher's ankle was still swollen, although the swelling had diminished from being the "size of a baseball."
• Tyler Skaggs has not participated in any baseball-related activity, including throwing, but can keep up his conditioning, Scioscia said.
Skaggs is on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, and a timetable for his return in unknown.
Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.