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Angels enjoy a slight rebound, but still have their work cut out for them

Angels enjoy a slight rebound, but still have their work cut out for them
Angels infielder Yunel Escobar rounds third base on his way to score off an RBI single by Albert Pujols during a game on July 7. (Brian Blanco / Getty Images)

Along one wall within the visiting manager's office at Tropicana Field, the Tampa Bay Rays have put up photos of every major league manager amid an argument with an umpire.

It makes for quite the motif, setting a decidedly negative, even confrontational, mood in the room. But Angels Manager Mike Scioscia's meetings with the media during his team's four-day stay here struck a more positive tone.

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The Angels won three consecutive games under the dome for their longest winning streak since mid-May.

Asked after Thursday's series finale whether he was feeling better about his team than he has in a long time, Scioscia said he didn't know the answer.

"Naturally, when you rebound and have three games like we've had, you're going in the right direction," Scioscia said. "But we have our work cut out for us. We need to keep getting better. And we're not going to get better until that rotation gets solid."

He pointed to the two starts, totaling 13 innings and one earned run, from Hector Santiago and Jered Weaver to conclude the series.

"Once that starts to happen on a consistent basis," he said, "I think we're all going to feel real good with where we are."

The earned-run average of the Angels' rotation was one of baseball's worst through May and June, after opening the season in the top third of teams. Through seven games this month, they have reentered the middle of the pack, probably as good as could be expected from a contingent missing three starters.

Short hops

Left-hander Tyler Skaggs was slated to throw six innings Thursday for triple-A Salt Lake. According to the timeline the Angels have suggested, he could be on the verge of rejoining the major league team after one more start. Skaggs last pitched in the majors on July 31, 2014, in Baltimore. … Catcher Geovany Soto caught Skaggs' start. The Angels are leaving open the possibility Soto will join them Saturday in Baltimore, but a second-half return is more likely. … Left fielder Daniel Nava sat out his second consecutive game, this time against a left-handed starter. On Tuesday, he suffered an aggravation of the patellar tendinitis that forced him to the disabled list in April, but it's less severe this time and he expects to avoid the DL.

Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura

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