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Angels find much stronger relief this season

Angels find much stronger relief this season

It was a look, and a feeling, that Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto came to dread, not only last season, but at times in April and May this year. The bullpen gate would open in the late innings of a close game and a sense of uncertainty would trot in with an Angels reliever.

"You could see it in the body language of Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar, of the three outfielders —shoulders would drop, heads would go down," Dipoto said. "There was a general exhale, like, 'Here we go, strap it on, this could be a bumpy ride.' You don't really sense that with this group."

A newfound confidence in the bullpen began to emerge in late June when Joe Smith replaced...

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