BALTIMORE — The first shock wave came when Oakland, the team the
The next came in the final hour before Thursday's 1 p.m. PDT non-waiver trade deadline, when pitching-rich Detroit acquired Tampa Bay ace
All of which prompted an odd reaction in the Angels clubhouse, where the hill to climb toward the division title and AL pennant had grown steeper.
"I love it," reliever
"I can't wait to play those guys, because I think, trade or no trade, we're pretty good too. I'm confident in what we have. The guys in this room are confident in what we have. So let's go get it."
When General Manager Jerry Dipoto awoke to news of the Lester trade, his reaction was like that of most fans.
"Wow," he said. "That's Jon Lester. He's a stud. We've seen him on the postseason stage before. He's been great. A good move for the A's."
But that didn't motivate Dipoto to make a last-minute run at Price or Philadelphia ace
The Angels had already addressed their most glaring need, upgrading a beleaguered bullpen with earlier acquisitions of Grilli, left-hander
"I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a little surprised at the volume of moves and their magnificence," Dipoto said. "It's fun for the fans. It's fun for different organizations. A lot of good teams got better. But we didn't sit on the sidelines and not take part. We made our moves earlier in July and in late June."
The Angels' rotation took a hit Thursday when
Skaggs said doctors told him his ulnar collateral ligament "was fine, at the moment," but he will undergo an MRI test Friday.
The Angels should get a boost from the return of left-hander
"When C.J. is right, he's a legitimate top-half-of-the-rotation guy," Dipoto said. "When we line up C.J. with
But he's not Lester, the 30-year-old left-hander who went 10-7 with a 2.52 earned-run average in 21 starts for the
Lester is also 6-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 13 career postseason games. He is 4-2 with a 4.44 ERA in eight regular-season starts against the Angels, 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three playoff starts against them.
"He makes their pitching staff that much better," Angels center fielder
The Angels are two games behind Oakland, and they play the A's 10 more times, so they'll see plenty of Lester. But Manager
"They were good yesterday, and they're good today — we knew that," Scioscia said of the A's. "We have a really good team. Our focus has to be on us continuing to play at a high level and continuing to improve.
"Right now, our offense is not firing on all cylinders, but we're pitching well and playing good defense. We really like our team."
On the plus side for the Angels, they may actually score from second base on a hit to left field against the Athletics.
Cespedes threw out two runners at the plate in the second inning of an 11-3 win over the Angels on May 31, and in a June 10 game, he airmailed a 300-foot throw from the corner — Scioscia called it a "guided missile" — to nail
But the Angels also play the Red Sox seven times this month, with four games (Aug. 18-21) in
"When he plays left field in Boston," Trout said, "he's probably going to be throwing people out on singles."