Bullpen making strides after rough start

Bullpen making strides after rough start

OAKLAND -- The Angels' bullpen suffered its seventh loss in the series finale at Petco Park, but that doesn't diminish the vast improvements the relief corps has made over the past week.

Since last Monday, the Angels' much-maligned bullpen -- still without LaTroy Hawkins (broken pinkie) -- has given up just three earned runs in 20 2/3 innings, dropping their collective ERA from 4.70 to 4.02. That mark still ranks 21st in the Majors, but manager Mike Scioscia now has more stability in the back end, with closer Scott Downs remaining consistent, newcomer Ernesto Frieri providing a spark and former closer Jordan Walden seemingly bouncing back.

The Angels on Monday called up 26-year-old sinkerballer Bobby Cassevah, who had a 6.73 ERA and 1.92 WHIP in 12 Triple-A innings, giving them an extra arm after the bullpen accounted for 6 2/3 innings (and one unearned run) in Sunday's 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Padres.

The Angels may stay with 14 relievers until outfielder Torii Hunter returns from the restricted list.