TORONTO -- The Angels have been doing a lot of things well lately.
Shutting down the running game is not one of them.
Heading into Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the Angels led the American League with 73 stolen bases against and were tied for 11th in caught-stealing percentage (20) -- despite having the third-lowest WHIP in the Junior Circuit. During Friday night's 7-5 loss, they gave up three steals. One of them was the result of Rajai Davis swiping third base as John Hester casually tossed the ball back to Ervin Santana.
"But both of our [catchers], Bobby [Wilson] and John, can throw better," Angels manager and former catcher Mike Scioscia said. "[Bullpen coach] Steve [Soliz] had them out here [on Friday], working on a couple things. At times they've made some great throws, and at times there's been some inconsistency. We have to contain a little better -- but not at the cost of forcing pitchers to do something they're not comfortable with."
It's easy to point the finger at Wilson and Hester, who has produced well at the plate and worked well with pitchers but has struggled mightily with his throwing since joining the Angels.
But the pitchers have a lot to do with it, too. The Angels have a few members of their rotation who aren't particularly good at shutting down a running game. Last year, Santana was tied for fourth in the AL in steals against, Dan Haren ranked 11th and C.J. Wilson -- despite being a left-hander and boasting a 1.19 WHIP -- finished in a tie for sixth.
"We have some pitchers that historically are guys that are going to take a little more time to the plate," Scioscia said. "Doesn't mean you can't control the running game, but you have to balance it with the ability to still make quality pitches to the plate -- and that's the most important thing."
Scioscia would change ASG roster assembly
TORONTO -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia has called the manner in which All-Star Game rosters are assembled a "flawed" process, mainly because he thinks that process isn't in tune with the stakes at hand.
"If this game became an exhibition with no consequences, meaning you're playing for pride, then I think a lot of the things that are in play are fine," said Scioscia, who's also a member of Commissioner Bud Selig's special committee. "But once you put the stakes of saying, 'This is going to give home-field advantage in the playoffs' ... I think it changes the whole dynamics of how you would go about doing it."
While admitting several other matters -- particularly schedule reform -- are of higher priority in Major League Baseball, Scioscia believes there are several things that need to be looked at with regard to selecting teams for an All-Star Game that decides home-field advantage in the World Series.
Among those items: The fact that there are now 33 players on each side; fans select the starting position players; and the fact that his team has only one day off before the event.
Scioscia believes there should be four days off before the Midsummer Classic, so that every pitcher would have enough rest in order to factor into the game. In terms of each club having at least one representative, he sees both sides: The appeal of fans being guaranteed of having a player from their team involved, and the freedom to construct a winning roster.
As for fans selecting the starters?
"I think fan voting is something that can be part of the equation," Scioscia said, "but I think the league should have more say in who they want to go out there and try to win a game for them that there's so much riding on."
With the Angels playing a third straight game on turf and coming off a Friday night game, Scioscia went with a lot of his reserves for Saturday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays. Maicer Izturis started at second base, Andrew Romine was at shortstop, Peter Bourjos manned center field to give Torii Hunter a day off and Albert Pujols was the designated hitter, with Kendrys Morales playing first base.
Catcher Chris Iannetta (forearm strain) is scheduled to re-start his throwing program on Monday. Scioscia believes it'll take him three or four days to get through the early stages, before starting to long toss and then, shortly after that, get on a rehab assignment.
Mark Trumbo, a good potential candidate for the State Farm Home Run Derby, leads the Majors in average distance per home run, at 419 feet. Trumbo leads the team and is tied for seventh in the American League with 19 homers.
Mike Trout went 0-for-4 in the Angels' 11-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday, snapping a career-high 11-game hitting streak that was the longest among Major League rookies this season. Trout's batting average now stands at .336.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.