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Looking to make run at it

October 05, 2008|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The Angels have no home runs, one extra-base hit and 19 singles in this series. That should not necessarily hamper a team that emphasizes the stolen base, except that the Angels have yet to steal a base, or even try.

"You can't go out there and say, 'We're going to try to steal bases,' " Manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday. "If the opportunity presents itself, you try to take advantage of it."

Chone Figgins, the Angels' leadoff hitter and top baserunner, has reached base twice in 10 at-bats, once on a triple.

Mark Teixeira, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter have accounted for 14 of the Angels' 19 singles, with Teixeira and Guerrero no threat to run and Hunter tweaking his left knee during Friday's game.

Hunter iced the knee during the Angels' five-hour flight here Saturday, and the Angels held him out of batting practice for precautionary reasons. Hunter said he would play tonight, and he said he could even steal a base.

"Adrenaline will make me run, believe me," Hunter said. "I won't even remember I had a knee problem."

Missing Izturis

Josh Beckett, who starts tonight for Boston, tipped his cap to Scioscia in discussing the Angels' 8-1 record against the Red Sox during the regular season.

"When I watch Mike Scioscia manage during the regular season against us, it almost feels like it's embarrassing sometimes, the way they take advantage of weaknesses and stuff like that."

Beckett offered one theory as to why the Red Sox have succeeded against the Angels now when they could not do so in the regular season -- the absence of injured infielder Maicer Izturis. In nine games against Boston this season, Izturis scored seven runs, drove in seven and hit .323.

"Izturis, to me, is a very good player," Beckett said. "He's another guy they could put at the top of the lineup and get on base and work pitchers, maybe get guys fatigued a little earlier and then get the middle of the lineup up there."

In Izturis' absence, the Angels' middle infielders -- shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick -- are hitless in 17 at-bats, with seven strikeouts.

Big A in rearview?

As Teixeira stood at his locker after Friday's defeat, the free-agent-to-be couldn't help thinking that he might have played his last home game for the Angels.

"That makes this loss pretty tough on me," Teixeira said. "I don't want Sunday to be my last game as an Angel."

Hunter refused to entertain the thought that the Angels might have played their last home game of the season.

"Hell no," Hunter said. "You don't think like that as an athlete. If you hear anybody say that, let me slap them."

Short hops

Scioscia said Juan Rivera would play right field tonight, and Mike Napoli would catch. Both figure to bat ahead of Kendrick, who is expected to drop in the batting order after starting the series with no hits and five strikeouts in nine at-bats. . . . Closer Francisco Rodriguez, who declined to speak with reporters after giving up the game-winning home run Friday, also declined to speak before Saturday's workout.


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