The Angel pitching staff was expected to welcome Marcel Lachemann with open arms, but the pitchers aren't the only ones thriving under the new manager.
"He's brought in this aura of quiet confidence, I guess that's the best way I can put it," said Rex Hudler, who has two home runs and two doubles in the two games he has played under Lachemann. "He's into preparation and fundamentals and, as far as I'm concerned, that's great. He had us out at 3 o'clock (Saturday) working on rundowns. And he's on the field while we're stretching.
"I'm not taking anything away from Buck (Rodgers). Buck had his own style. But (Lachemann) is a quiet leader. It's just the way he carries himself. And, so far, he's made all the right moves with the pitchers. All of sudden, our staff looks like a Cy Young group. (Saturday), Phil Leftwich looked like Lefty Grove."
Mark Langston lasted only 5 2/3 innings Sunday, but said he felt stronger than he has since returning to the rotation after undergoing elbow surgery April 12.
"Any time I lose, I'm disappointed," Langston said, "but I felt great when (Lachemann) took me out in the sixth and I couldn't have said that after the other two starts."
Langston struggled in the early going, but appeared to have found a groove when he struck out the side in the fifth before giving up four consecutive singles in the sixth.
"Once he started getting the breaking ball down, he started to look like the Mark Langston of old," Lachemann said. "I mean it's not that long ago that he had surgery, so I think that's pretty impressive.
"The home run that (Terry) Shumpert hit was off a good pitch, the one that David (Henderson) hit was out over the plate. The rest of the hits were pretty much just ground balls in the hole."
The much-maligned bullpen has been a key to the Angels' recent success at home. Relievers were 1-1 with three saves and a combined 2.57 earned-run average during the homestand.
"It's been a very encouraging last few days," outfielder Tim Salmon said, "especially when you consider the pitching and the way (John) Dopson pitched (Sunday) and (Mark) Leiter the other day.
"Going out on the road, it's a good feeling to have the bullpen going like this."