In 12 games since, including Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to the
The competition has stiffened, the Angels playing their first 13 games after the break against wild-card-contending Seattle and division leaders Baltimore and Detroit, and so has the pitching.
The Angels have faced the
And they'll face Norris, who has a 3-0 record and 0.46 earned-run average in three career starts against them, in Thursday night's series finale.
"It's probably a combination of both," Manager
"I'm not going to take anything away from the way guys have pitched, but our guys are a little out of sync. You can see where we're a little bit soft."
Strangely enough, one of the softest spots has been
In his last nine games, Trout, is five for 34 (.147) with two runs batted in and 13 strikeouts, his average slipping from .313 to .299. With the Angels trailing, 4-3, runners on second and third and two outs in the fifth inning Wednesday, Trout struck out on Gausman's 1-and 2 split-fingered fastball.
"It was a pretty good splitty with some late movement," Trout said. "My timing is a little bit off right now. I'm picking up the ball late. The pitches I should be hitting, I'm seeing them late and rushing my swing."
Trout had a similar slump from May 3-19, when he hit .158 (nine for 57) with two homers and 10 RBIs in 16 games, but he broke out of it in a big way. Trout is confident he'll rebound from his current skid, but the Angels can't expect the star center fielder — or any one player, for that matter — to carry them.
"He's important to us, but we are not contingent on one guy being hot for us to have our offense going," Scioscia said. "There's always a lot of focus on Mike and
General Manager Jerry Dipoto is a firm believer in his club, saying the Angels "have as good a chance as anyone else to compete" for the
Dipoto did his heavy lifting in late June and mid-July, boosting a beleaguered bullpen by acquiring closer
"Right now, there's a pretty good flow to this team, it works together," Dipoto said. "We're not looking to do anything that would change the roster in a dramatic way."
The Angels (63-43) would benefit from adding a front-line starter, but they don't have the high-end prospects to acquire pitchers such as Boston's