Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/9/12

The Los Angeles Angels' first half featured an old double-play combo.

"We've been, in the first half, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," manager Mike Scioscia said Sunday. "We know the really poor start that we got off to. We also know the untapped potential that was in this team early. We're seeing it start to surface."

The Texas Rangers -- with the Angels' help -- did their best to bury the Angels early. Through the first 20 games of the season, the Angels had just six wins and had dug themselves a nine-game hole behind fast-starting Texas in the AL West.

Everything began to turn around when dynamic rookie outfielder Mike Trout was promoted and made his season debut April 28. Since then, the Angels' 42-24 record is the best in baseball. Los Angeles has moved within four games of the Rangers at the All-Star break and holds the first of the AL's two wild-card spots.

"With all the talent in here, now you're seeing what everyone's capable of. It's just kind of bizarre that it wasn't there," Mark Trumbo, one of the Angels' four All-Stars, said of the turnaround. "It happens, you know? I think we've definitely put that chapter to rest, and this is the team we knew we had."

Trout has been the key and could be the most important player on the team in the second half -- despite his age (20) and the presence of the $240 million man, Albert Pujols.

"Trout is part of our puzzle. He's doing unbelievable things," veteran Torii Hunter said of Trout, who leads the AL in batting (.341) and stolen bases (26) at the All-Star break. "Without his piece, the puzzle is not complete. I'm thankful he got called up and is helping this team win."

The Angels have issues in their rotation with both Ervin Santana and Dan Haren (on the disabled list with back problems) failing to live up to expectations. But Trout's arrival and the acquisition of reliever Ernesto Frieri have solved the team's two biggest problems heading into this season -- the leadoff spot and bullpen depth -- and made the Angels solid playoff contenders in the second half.

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