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ANGEL REPORT

Seven-Game Trip Only Begins Tough Stretch

July 31, 2001|Chris Foster

The Angels begin a seven-game trip tonight in Boston and on the far edge of the American League wild-card race. They are 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, who currently hold the wild-card spot.

The good news for the Angels is they play 30 of their last 57 games against the five teams ahead of them in the wild-card picture: Boston, New York, Minnesota, Cleveland and Oakland. The bad news for the Angels is they have to play Boston, New York, Minnesota, Cleveland and Oakland.

"In essence, all those teams are in our division now," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "They are our competition."

This will be the first time this season the Angels have faced the Red Sox and Yankees. They were 10-9 against those teams last season.

But playing close to .500 is not going to do much to close the gap.

"We do have an opportunity to get closer," outfielder Garret Anderson said. "But it's not going to matter unless we pick it up."

The Angels showed few signs of picking anything up in losing two of three to the Baltimore Orioles. Especially baserunners. They stranded 27 of 36 over the weekend.

Only Baltimore and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have scored fewer runs in the AL this season.

"Every time we start talking like we're getting things rolling, we stop hitting," second baseman Adam Kennedy said. "It's kind of frustrating. We have to stop talking about it."

Jarrod Washburn and Ramon Ortiz are maturing into the types of pitchers Angel officials envisioned. On some nights, Scott Schoeneweis seems on that path as well.

Second-year pitching coach Bud Black has played a large role in their development.

"He has helped me so much with the mental aspects," Washburn said. "I'm able to shrug off stuff that happens out there. Sometimes you make a good pitch and someone gets a hit anyway. You have to be able to forget about those things if you're going to be successful."

Washburn, Ortiz and Schoeneweis have combined for 24 victories this season. They had 22 last season.

"Bud is so positive," Washburn said. "I mean, he gets on you if you do something wrong. But he does it in a way that doesn't crush your spirit. It makes it easy to learn and do the job."

ON DECK

* Opponent--Boston Red Sox, three games.

* Site--Fenway Park, Boston.

* Today--4 p.m. PDT.

* TV--Channel 9 today and Thursday.

* Radio--KLAC (570), XPRS (1090).

* Records--Angels 53-52, Red Sox 60-44.

* 2000 Record vs. Red Sox--5-4.

TODAY

ANGELS'

RAMON ORTIZ

(8-7, 4.12 ERA)

vs.

RED SOX'S

ROLANDO ARROJO

(2-3, 3.35 ERA)

* Update--Somehow the Red Sox managed to stay in the AL East race despite missing key players. Now those players are coming back and the Red Sox look formidable. On Sunday, Nomar Garciaparra returned after missing four months because of surgery on his right wrist. He had a home run and a two-run single in a 4-3 victory. Bret Saberhagen missed 22 months after reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder. On Friday, he gave up one run on three hits in six innings in a 9-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

* Wednesday, 4 p.m. PDT--Scott Schoeneweis (7-8, 4.94 ERA) vs. Hideo Nomo (11-4, 3.86 ERA).

* Thursday, 4 p.m. PDT--Pat Rapp (3-9, 4.62 ERA) vs. Bret Saberhagen (1-0, 1.50 ERA).

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