ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia will be extra cognizant of his starters' workload over these final three and a half weeks. That applies to Garrett Richards, the 25-year-old right-hander who has already thrown 115 1/3 innings in a season that has seen him shuffled between the rotation and the bullpen. And it also applies to Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas, even though they missed a combined 18 or so starts due to injury.
"They haven't pitched much, but you know what, as you start to get start after start and keep the innings piling up, as these guys have since they've gotten back -- they've consistently pitched deep in games -- that's going to be something you have to pay attention to," said Scioscia, who held a pregame meeting with the three starters Thursday. "But they all feel good, they feel strong, and they're performing better."
With Vargas and Weaver healthy at the same time, the Angels are finally getting consistent production from their rotation. Since Aug. 15, Angels starters -- including C.J. Wilson and Jerome Williams -- have compiled a 3.35 ERA, fourth lowest in the Majors.
There's a slight chance that staff will expand to six later this month, particularly when Tommy Hanson, who has struggled to a 5.49 ERA in four Triple-A starts, rejoins the team after the Pacific Coast League playoffs. But Scioscia hasn't decided yet.
The Angels have one off-day remaining this season, on Sept. 19.
"I don't know what's going to happen once we expand," Scioscia said. "We'll look at a lot of different things, and see what pitchers are going to come up and get a look, and see where they are. But I think it's really important for this group to keep playing strong, playing hard, playing well. And like we talked about, next year begins today still. You have to keep moving towards it."
Trumbo understands concerns over on-base percentage
ANAHEIM -- Mark Trumbo -- current slump notwithstanding -- is on his way to a second straight 30-homer, 90-RBI season and, at age 27, ranks among the top 50 in the Majors in slugging percentage since the start of 2011.
He also realizes that won't be good enough to a lot of people.
"At the end of the day, you hit 30 homers and you drive in 80, 90, 100 runs, whatever it is, that's awesome," Trumbo said. "But what's hard as a player, to be quite honest, is when the majority of the times that your name is brought up, it's going to be what you're not doing well -- unless you're a guy like Mike [Trout]. I do quite a few things well, and there are some things I don't do well, which are quite obvious. Unfortunately, you tend to dwell on what you want to get better at. I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I can do certain things better."
For Trumbo, those "certain things" mainly revolve around his on-base percentage.
He set a career-high with a .317 mark last season. Entering Thursday's series finale against the Rays, it was .291 in 2013 -- the same clip he posted in '11 and seventh lowest among American League qualifiers. And over his previous 13 contests, he's reached base nine times in 53 plate appearances, with 19 strikeouts and one walk.
"I understand it," Trumbo said of getting a bad rap for his on-base percentage. "When I'm hitting well, I take a lot of walks. And when I struggle, I don't. Pitchers are going to come at me."
Trumbo has already increased his walks (36 to 45) and doubles (19 to 25) from 2012 to '13, and he still has a good chance to up his home run (32 to 29) and RBI totals (95 to 84).
But his slash line last year was .268/.317/.491.
This year, it's .233/.291/.447, with little time to improve it much more.
"The casual fan would probably be pretty pumped up when they see the baseball-card numbers, and the new-age fans are probably not going to be too terribly thrilled with a player like me," Trumbo said. "But you know what, at the end of the day, you are who you are. I want to get better and do what I do.
"I don't think it's been a tremendous year. But when you break certain things down, as much as a struggle as in my mind it's been at times, I still have quite a bit to show for it."
Newest Angels Hall of Famer Knoop impressed by Trout
ANAHEIM -- Bobby Knoop was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame prior to Thursday's game, but first he spent some time talking about a current superstar.
The second baseman, who spent the first five-plus years of his career with the Angels, is not the first to compare Mike Trout to some of the game's all-time greats, but as someone who played in an era full of superstars, his words come with significance.
While Knoop was reluctant to compare players, he did discuss the 22-year-old phenom.
"You've got to be a complete dummy not to have Mike Trout impress you, my goodness. Look at what he's done and at such a young age," Knoop said. "He's such a wonderful young man. The first time I saw him walk away from me with that almost-shaved head under that cap, with his shoulders about 4-feet wide and chisled -- I'm not comparing him by any means to anybody, but the person I thought of was [Mickey] Mantle."
While Trout is carving out his own legacy and will be compared to many others throughout his career, Thursday was about Knoop, who was inducted during a pregame ceremony. The induction ceremony included fellow Angel Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Chuck Finley, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich and Brian Downing.
"It's pretty incredible to me," said Knoop, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time recipient of the Owner's Trophy for the team MVP. "It is really special. This is home to me."
The second baseman was selected by the Angels in the 1963 Rule 5 Draft and played with the team until he was traded during the '69 season.
"I played as hard as I could play," Knoop said. "As long as I'm honest with myself and the people that I deal with, I'm happy."
• The Angels' top two Minor League affiliates won their playoff games Thursday night.
Triple-A Salt Lake beat the Mets' Las Vegas affiliate, 5-4, on a second straight walk-off -- this one thanks to Scott Cousins' sac fly -- to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Pacific Conference Championship Series. Double-A Arkansas beat Colorado's Tulsa affiliate, 4-1, to also take a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five series.
Class A Inland Empire lost to the Dodgers' Rancho Cucamonga affiliate, 8-5, to even their series at a game apiece.
• Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck was presented with the Heart and Hustle Award prior to Thursday's series finale against the Rays. The award, presented by Grich -- a former Angels second baseman -- is given to one player per team by the Major League Baseball Players Association in recognition of those who "demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.