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Angels' Mike Scioscia going 'right' off bat against Boston

Angels manager will start right-handers John Lackey and Jered Weaver in first two games of division series, with lefties Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders slated for Games 3 and 4 in Fenway.

October 05, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

OAKLAND — There were no surprises Sunday when Manager Mike Scioscia announced his playoff rotation and roster. John Lackey, as expected, will start Game 1 of the division series against the Boston Red Sox in Angel Stadium and will be followed by Jered Weaver in Game 2.

Left-handers Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders are scheduled to pitch Games 3 and 4, respectively, in Fenway Park, with right-hander Ervin Santana going to the bullpen for the first round.

The Angels will go with a 10-man pitching staff, with Brian Fuentes, Kevin Jepsen, Darren Oliver, Matt Palmer and, assuming he recovers from shoulder tightness that knocked him out of Saturday's game, Jason Bulger joining Santana in the bullpen.

The bench will feature a third catcher -- Bobby Wilson -- outfielders Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr., and corner infielder/outfielder Robb Quinlan, who edged out Brandon Wood for the final roster spot.

Willits, Scioscia said, "gives us versatility in that we can plug him into situations late, whether it's to pinch-run, get a bunt down or play defense. He brings a lot there."

With Wilson, the Angels can hit for catcher Jeff Mathis late in a game and replace him with a better defensive catcher than Mike Napoli. Wilson's presence will also allow Scioscia to use Napoli as a pinch-hitter.

The streak ends

Vladimir Guerrero's streak of 11 consecutive seasons with a batting average of .300 or better and at least 25 homers officially came to an end Sunday.

Guerrero, who did not play in the regular-season finale, closed an injury-plagued 2009 season with a .295 average, 15 homers and 50 runs batted in in 100 games.

Lou Gehrig is the only other player in baseball history to hit .300 or better with at least 25 homers in 11 straight seasons.

"I feel fortunate that I was able to get to that," Guerrero said through an interpreter. "For me, it was never about the personal accomplishment.

"It was great for the media and the fans to talk about, and was great company I was in. But it was more about staying healthy. To be out for a month and a half really limited my ability to get into a groove this year. But there's a lot of season left."

Power surge

Napoli's solo home run in the third inning Sunday gave the Angels four players -- Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera and Torii Hunter are the others -- with at least 20 homers this season.

The Angels have not had that kind of long-ball production since 2000, when five players -- Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon and Mo Vaughn -- hit 25 homers or more.

An RBI double by Matthews on Saturday gave the reserve outfielder 50 RBIs and made the Angels the first team in baseball history to have 11 players with 50 RBIs in the same season.

The others are Morales (108), Bobby Abreu (103), Hunter (90), Rivera (88), Maicer Izturis (65), Howie Kendrick (61), Erick Aybar (58), Napoli (56), Chone Figgins (54) and Guerrero (50).

Short hops

Aybar finished the season with 10 hits in his last 15 at-bats, and Morales closed with 10 hits, including three homers, in his last 19 at-bats . . . Figgins finished second in the AL with 114 runs, one behind Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia.


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