After undergoing rotator cuff surgery in October, Sele had an awful start to the season—going 3-6 with a 7.01 ERA in his first nine starts.
Restricted to a five-inning limit by Angels manager Mike Scioscia in his last three starts, Sele has surrendered one run and nine hits over 15 innings during the stretch. He did not allow more than one hit in any inning.
“You can’t get much better results that what Aaron’s done,” Scioscia said. “He’s done a great job under that umbrella. He’s really responded to getting in there and going after hitters in shorter spurts, and he just been phenomenal.”
Although the two-time All-star was skeptical about the plan to limit his innings, he now admits it was a good decision.
“In the long haul, maybe this has been the best thing,” Sele said. “Coming off surgery, that’s what you look for—throwing a lot of quality pitches. But I haven’t really changed my approach at all.”
The Angels were playing some of their best baseball of the season with a five-game winning streak heading to into the break, but have started the second half horribly as they were swept in four games by the Baltimore Orioles.
On Sunday, the Angels scored five runs in the ninth inning against the Baltimore bullpen, but came up short in a 7-6 loss.
Sele, though, has a good chance to get back the defending champions back on track against the Devil Rays. In nine starts against Tampa Bay, Sele is 7-0 with a 4.58 ERA.
The Devil Rays, though, are coming off their most lopsided win of the season, a 15-4 rout of the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Aubrey Huff, Al Martin and Travis Lee each hit a three-run homer, as the Devil Rays earned a split of the four-game series.
The 15 runs equaled a team record and was the most at home for Tampa Bay, which is 8-8 in July. The Devil Rays were a franchise-worst 5-21 in June.
STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 9 1/2 GB, AL West. Devil Rays - 5th place, 26 1/2 GB, AL East.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Sele (6-6, 5.37 ERA). In his last start, a 7-1 win over Kansas City on July 10, Sele allowed one run and four hits in five innings.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Rob Bell (1-2, 7.36 ERA). The right-hander is coming off a 13-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on July 13. In 4 1-3 innings, Bell allowed five runs—four earned—and eight hits, but escaped without a decision. In four starts against the Angels, Bell is 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .318, 23 HRs and 84 RBIs; Anderson, Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus, 53 runs; David Eckstein and Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs. Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli and Huff, .304 avg.; Huff, 18 HRs, 55 RBIs and 51 runs; Carl Crawford, 23 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Angels, 5-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - OF Anderson has a season-high 12-game hitting streak. … OF Spezio is 7-for-15 (.466) in his last three games. … 3B Glaus is in a 1-for-15 (.066) slump. Devil Rays - Tampa Bay has been outhomered 67-33 at home. … The Devil Rays have won five of eight at home … Tampa Bay has scored three runs or fewer in five of their seven games with the Angels this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 20-27 on the road; Devil Rays - 21-30 at home.
INJURIES: Angels - 1B Brad Fullmer (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mickey Callaway (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL.