ANAHEIM: Even as the roster is falling apart, the Angels are inexplicably playing their best baseball of the season.
With an 8-1 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday night (Thursday in Manila), the Angels have won five of their last six games, despite earlier in the day placing their 10th player on the disabled list.
“The dust has settled,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We know some guys are out of the lineup. What’s left is, we feel, a pretty good team.”
The players who are left have come together – for a week anyway – the way they must if they are going to contend.
“It (stinks) to have guys go down,” Mike Trout said. “A lot of teams go through it, and we’re just going through it all at once. We’re just trying to get wins. That’s all we can do.”
The offense has been fairly consistent, producing 45 runs in the past seven games.
Trout started it off with his eighth homer and added two singles, lifting his average to a season high .320. Albert Pujols also continued to come out of his slump with two more hits and two walks, improving to 11 for 29 (.379) in his last seven games.
The starting pitching, which was the primary issue during the six-game losing streak that preceded this stretch, has seemingly settled down. Angels starters have finished six innings in four of the past six games, and in the other two the starter left after five.
Nick Tropeano finally reached the magical six-inning barrier Wednesday night. In his first seven starts, he had come up short, more because of a high pitch count than ineffectiveness.
“It was just me trying to be too perfect with my pitches and not trusting my mechanics and letting the defense work,” Tropeano said.
This time, he did. He made it through seven innings on just 96 pitches, starting off easy – nine outs on 22 pitches – and spending the later innings getting himself into and out of trouble.
Tropeano got into jams in the fourth and fifth, but his most impressive escape was in the seventh. The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs, and he got out by striking out Kiki Hernandez and getting Justin Turner to hit into a double play.
Meanwhile, the Angels put the game away with a five-run inning that looked like the work of a team going the right way. They parlayed one clean single and two walks into five runs, with the help of some breaks.
After Yunel Escobar led off with a single into center and Kole Calhoun popped out, Trout and Pujols both walked, loading the bases.
C.J. Cron hit a grounder into the hole. Shortstop Corey Seager gloved it but had no play. Johnny Giavotella then squibbed a ball toward first, but Howie Kendrick bobbled it for an error.
Rafael Ortega then dumped a blooper into left, just beyond the dive of Trayce Thompson, for a two-run double.
Carlos Perez followed with a sacrifice fly, completing the five-spot to put the Angels up, 6-1.
One of the walks and two of the hits came at the expense of Louis Coleman, who had not allowed a hit in May.
Coleman allowed two inherited runners to be charged to starter Mike Bolsinger, making his 2016 debut. After missing the first quarter of the season because of an oblique injury, Bolsinger allowed nine baserunners in 4-2/3 innings.
The Dodgers dropped to 13-19 in games started by someone other than Clayton Kershaw. They are 8-1 when their ace takes the mound.