The Los Angeles Angels have been on a tear recently winning seven of their last eight games and they currently hold second place in the American League Wild Card race. Manager Mike Scioscia joined The Jim Rome Show Friday and was asked what’s been the key to the recent hot streak.
“It all comes down to some of our offensive woes. You get Mike Trout back in the lineup and it makes everyone else kind of get in place where they are comfortable,” Scioscia said. “Not that we are knocking the cover off the ball, but were definitely pressuring teams more. That’s going to be important to us. We always felt we were going to be in a pennant race and even some of the darker times during the season when you were in those couple losing streaks, you always felt like you were going to play better and we have.
“The thing about baseball is you’re coming into the last six weeks of the season and the last six weeks of the season could be a lifetime. You need to keep focus to this thing, one pitch at a time, and you’re going to play tough games all the way out and we know we have to play well.”
Outfielder Mike Trout recently notched his 1,000th career hit and is currently closing in on his 200th career home run. If Trout is able to reach that mark this season, he’ll join an exclusive club of players to do so at age 25, a feat Scioscia tried to put in perspective.
“What Mike Trout is doing and we see it everyday is just incredible,” Scioscia said. “We get to see it everyday, I think the casual fan or the fan that doesn’t see Mike day in and day out can look at numbers and look at what he’s doing and say hey, this guy’s a special player, but when you see him play every day and the way the little things show up in his game of what he does on the defensive side, how he runs the bases, how he never takes a pitch off, that’s one of the things about Mike’s makeup that makes him special along with his natural talent.
“And when you start to hear the names of the guys that he’s being compared to, we’re seeing something right before our eyes, it’s like a living legend. Combined with Albert (Pujols), when Albert hits a home run or does something, the guys he’s connected with, it’s been really fun. The one thing about Mike is Mike’s focused on winning. He wants to win. That’s what drives him. He’s not going to be content until he gets that World Series ring, and that’s what we are all trying to move towards.”
Earlier this week, three-time All-Star Jered Weaver announced his retirement from baseball, ending a 12-year career, which was mostly spent with Scioscia as his manager. The skipper shared his thoughts on his former staff ace.
“Jered, he always set a tone for our rotation,” Scioscia said. “Even if we had a lot of guys in our rotation that were gamers. He went out there, and talk about never taking a pitch off, didn’t matter what the situation was, he wanted the ball, he wanted to be the guy to go out there and pitch well.
“I think it made an incredible statement when he was at the height of his career with us and we wanted him back and he wanted to come back and he left some money on the table to sign with us, and hopefully finish his career with us, which obviously he went down to San Diego this year and didn’t quite accomplish that. But this guy was an incredible competitor.
Scioscia reminded everyone of Weaver’s greatness earlier in his career.
“He had a terrific career. I think sometimes we get caught up in some numbers, but Jered Weaver was as good as there was for a five year stretch in Major League Baseball, and we were privileged to have him,” Scioscia said. “His accolades are well deserved. He was an incredible pitcher, and I think sometimes father time catches up to all of us, and I think he did with Jered.”