ANAHEIM -- In typical Mike Scioscia fashion, the Angels' manager downplayed the importance of the team's four-game series against the Texas Rangers before Monday's opener. "It is a game. No matter what happens, there is a lot of baseball left to play," Scioscia said. "Naturally, we want to be in a better position come the end of the series than how we came into it. "The only way to get there is pitch to pitch, inning to inning and game to game, and that is what we want to do."
The Angels trail the Rangers by four games in the American League West after losing four of their last five. "We had some games that we had some opportunities to finish teams off and couldn't do it," Scioscia said. "We know the challenge ahead of us." Scioscia believes his team just needs to go out and play baseball. "Even if the series gets away from us, I don't think the division is lost. I think it is an uphill battle," Scioscia said. "I don't think it is going to be won or lost come these four games." Scioscia continues to preach that it is only the middle of August, knowing full well that the Angels play the Rangers six more times after the series. "This is still Aug. 15, so you still have to look at the bigger picture," Scioscia said. "We need to become a better team, and that is what we are still focusing on. "Hopefully guys will play baseball, just a little bit better."