DETROIT -- Six relievers combined to pitch five innings in the Angels' 14-13, extra-inning victory over the Red Sox on Thursday. Though it was a much-needed win for the Halos, it comes at a cost, as the bullpen is a bit taxed heading into the three-game series with the Tigers.
"It was definitely well worth it, obviously," pitching coach Mike Butcher said. "But tonight we need a good start [from Zack Greinke], and we'll kind of piece it together at the back end."
Manager Mike Scioscia wasn't too worried, mostly because eating innings is what the bullpen has become accustomed to doing. The starters' outings have been cut short -- they have a 6.27 ERA in August.
"For the last two months, I think, that's the biggest issue," Scioscia said.
"You can absorb it or reset after a game like last night, and it shouldn't take that long, but our issue's really been ... so many innings having to come out of our bullpen, and it will take its toll. We'll reset and have the arms we need to hold leads."
Holding leads isn't something the bullpen has been especially successful at doing. Since the All-Star break, the unit has a 5.98 ERA.
On Thursday, starter CJ Wilson allowed six earned runs but exited with a lead. Right-hander Jason Isringhausen took over and immediately gave up the game-tying run. Jordan Walden allowed a run, Garrett Richards allowed two and Ernesto Frieri yielded a pair as well, although he was credited with the win.
Including both starters and relievers, the Angels' 6.57 ERA in August is the worst in the league.
"You don't expect the kind of issues that have been staff-wide," Scioscia said. "I think every time a pitcher takes the mound, you expect him to get it done and pitch to his potential. ... There's more focus on what [the bullpen's] pitches mean to the outcome of the games, there's more attention to it, but the starters have struggled, too."
Scioscia declined to say which relievers would be available out of the bullpen on Friday, saying only, "There's definitely some guys we'll stay away from."
Sore calf keeps Pujols out of lineup again
DETROIT -- For the second straight game, first baseman Albert Pujols was not in the Angels' lineup.
Pujols was removed from Wednesday's contest after feeling pain in his right calf running the bases. He was subsequently held out of Thursday's game, and is now missing the series opener in Detroit.
Pujols underwent an MRI on Thursday that revealed no structural damage. He was diagnosed with inflammation in the calf, and wasn't concerned when speaking to the media about it. In 2009, while with the Cardinals, he had a calf injury that required a stint on the disabled list, but this feels "nothing even close to that," he said.
Still, the nine-time All-Star and three-time National League Most Valuable Player isn't quite ready to play the field or even serve as the team's designated hitter.
"He got treatment today a number of times, and we'll see how it sets up," said manager Mike Scioscia when asked if Pujols would be available to pinch-hit. "Right now it's affecting his stance in the batter's box a bit, and that would be something that would probably stop him from doing that."
Pujols, who is considered day to day, hopes he'll be back in the lineup on Saturday against Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly, but first he has to see how the calf responds to working out and taking batting practice.
"Today it feels better than yesterday and the day before," Pujols said. "It's a day to work out and react, and hopefully tomorrow I'll be ready to go."
Pujols is batting .283 this season with 28 home runs and 86 RBIs. Until sustaining the injury, he ranked first in the Majors in home runs (28) and fifth in RBIs (81) since May 6, when he hit his first bomb with the Angels.
Takahashi claimed off waivers by Bucs
DETROIT -- On Sunday, Hisanori Takahashi was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake. Five days later the left-handed reliever finds himself with a different organization altogether, as he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Pirates on Friday.
Takahashi had his fair share of struggles this season with the Angels. He had a 0-3 record and, in 42 innings, allowed 23 earned runs -- good for a 4.93 ERA. Through seven games in August, his ERA was 7.71.
The 37-year-old was demoted to Salt Lake on Aug. 19 following the return of right-hander Jordan Walden, who had been sidelined since July 8 with soreness in his neck and a strained right bicep.
Takahashi pitched in 103 games for the Angels during his two-year stint with the club. He went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA last season and, overall, was 4-6 with a 4.01 ERA.
Manager Mike Scioscia thinks it will be good for Takahashi to get a fresh start in Pittsburgh.
"He struggled with some things, [but] at times he threw the ball well for us in our bullpen," Scioscia said. "He's got versatility, and I think that he'll add a little different dimension to their 'pen."
Entering Friday's game, Mike Trout needed only one home run to become the first rookie in Major League history to hit 25 homers and steal 40 bases in a season. With his 40th stolen base on Thursday, he became the youngest player in MLB history to hit 20 homers and tally 40 steals.
The Angels' 14-13 win on Thursday was the highest-scoring extra-inning game in the 100-year history of Fenway Park. It was also the third time the Angels have swept the Red Sox in the last 20 years.
Whereas the pitching has been poor of late, the offense has not. The team batting average of .274 is the second highest in the Majors this season.
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.