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Sunday, April 3, 2011
Kevin Jepsen and the fine art of adjusting

By Mark Saxon

It's been a rough start for reliever Kevin Jepsen. On Opening Day, he allowed a home run and two walks. Two days later, he coughed up two runs on four singles.

In his third full season, Jepsen wonders whether the league is starting to figure him out. All four of the hits he allowed Saturday were on cutters, a pitch he has been throwing for less than two years.

Jepsen thinks the Kansas City Royals might have a scouting report that tells them he likes to throw his cutter in certain counts. Other teams have had more time to figure out ways to hit him as well.

Jepsen threw over the winter with former major-league reliever Mike Fetters, who pitched 16 seasons. Fetters suggested he make adjustments this season. A couple of Angels veterans, Torii Hunter and Scott Downs, hammered the point home in a long postgame chat after Saturday's game.

"He told me about every three years or so, you need to make a little adjustment, change it up because the league’s going to adjust to you," Jepsen said. "This is the big leagues."

The fact the Angels players are talking among themselves after games speaks well to the camaraderie on this team. It could also have some benefit on the field, but you never know about on-field chemistry.

"It’s cathartic, all that stuff you do after a game," manager Mike Scioscia said. "There’s a lot of little counseling that goes on, but there’s definitely a process you have to go through whether you have a great game or a poor game. There's  a process of getting out of it and moving on to the next game."