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Angels staying focused, playing good ball

ARLINGTON -- The first 81 games of the Angels' season was filled with offensive struggles, and more recently, front-office change.

But the Angels (43-38) hit the halfway mark Saturday having won six of their past seven to pull within four games of the Astros for first place in the American League West. The club's starting pitching has been top-notch, and manager Mike Scioscia said his team has done an admirable job of not letting internal problems influence on-field play.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto resigned Wednesday after a reported rift with Scioscia came to a breaking point. The club responded to the well-publicized drama by beating the Rangers, 8-2 and 13-0, in the first two games of a three-game series.

"Unfortunately, internally with our organization, there's been some upheaval for the last probably couple weeks, just in trying to get some things worked out," Scioscia said. "The players are just playing baseball. They haven't been really affected by it, and we're just going to keep improving as a team. That's really all we can do."

Dipoto's resignation has come with ripples, such as player-information coach Rico Brogna being moved to a scouting role, and Scioscia said a change like the Angels have experienced can take a toll that winning doesn't necessarily heal.

"We have to win," Scioscia said. "Winning or losing doesn't ease it. That was a tough week for us last week. Whether you win or lose doesn't ease that."

Scioscia wants to see more consistency from the lineup.

"We have a team that's reliant on batter's box offense more than any lineup we've had here, but they have the ability to drive the ball, and we're seeing some of that," Scioscia said. "Our lineup needs to get deeper, and we need to see more offensive consistency in the second half, and then I think you'll see us reach our potential."

Worth noting

• Outfielder Collin Cowgill, who was moved to the 60-day disabled list Friday, is expected to be shut down for at least a week before the Angels decide on what further steps to take. Cowgill is recovering from a sprained left wrist that flared up last week.

• Scioscia said right-handed pitcher Cory Ramsus, who was activated and optioned to Triple-A on Friday, will continue throwing in the Minors for the time being. "You're gonna have to get him to a certain rhythm of getting out there and staying out there, and maybe then you can get him back here," Scioscia said.

• After a career-high six-RBI game Saturday, C.J. Cron started at first base for the Angels on Sunday. Scioscia said he wants Cron to continue getting at-bats in hopes he can build on Saturday's big game.

Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for
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