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BASEBALL : ANGELS FYI

A Texas rainout would complicate the rotation

September 29, 2012|Bill Shaikin
  • Zack Greinke might have to start a potential tiebreaker for the second wild-card spot on three days' rest.
Zack Greinke might have to start a potential tiebreaker for the second wild-card… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The odds are against the Angels, and now Mother Nature might be too.

If the Angels can force a one-game tiebreaker for the second and final American League wild-card spot, they could be forced to use a starting pitcher on short rest. The Angels trail the Oakland Athletics for the second AL wild-card spot by two games, with five to play.

Rain is forecast here all day Saturday, with Ervin Santana the scheduled starter for the Angels. If the game is rained out and the Angels play a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers on Sunday, the choices in a tiebreaker would appear to be Santana or Zack Greinke, each on three days' rest.

In addition, a doubleheader could tax the Angels' leaky bullpen. Little wonder, then, that Manager Mike Scioscia had little interest in discussing plans for a potential doubleheader.

"Let's not talk about a worst-case scenario," Scioscia said. "That would be something that certainly wouldn't be favorable to what we're trying to do."

Greinke on short rest might appear to be the best option, even better than Santana on regular rest. In his past seven starts, Greinke is 5-0 with a 1.62 earned-run average.

However, the Angels have limited Greinke's workload -- the pitcher and the team mapped out the plan when he was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers -- and Scioscia was noncommittal about who might start a tiebreaker on short rest.

"On a one-shot deal, we have candidates who could do it," Scioscia said. "If you see a slight [increased] risk of injury, you're not going to risk it. I don't know if that's the case with Zack."

Greinke and Santana each started once last season on three days' rest. Both won.

Trout du jour

Mike Trout set a franchise record by scoring his 125th run, one more than Vladimir Guerrero scored in his MVP season of 2004. Trout also set an Angels rookie record with 173 hits, one more than Wally Joyner in 1986.

Trout also hit his 29th home run. If he homers once in the final five games, the 21-year-old will become the youngest player with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Alex Rodriguez did it at 23, in his MVP season of 1998.

"If it happens, it happens," Trout said. "I just want to go to the playoffs."

Trout homered and tripled on Friday, following a homestand in which he hit .167 and struck out 11 times in 30 at-bats.

"It's September. You've been playing ball since February," he said. "It's definitely going to be a long year. In games like this, the adrenaline rush kicks in, especially here. It's sold out every night."

This is the first year the Rangers have outdrawn the Angels since 2002, the year the Angels won the World Series.

Short hops

Kendrys Morales said he pulled himself from Friday's game because of soreness in his right rib cage. The switch-hitter said it hurts to swing from either side and said he has felt the discomfort for a couple of days. He will be evaluated Saturday.... Vernon Wells reported to the ballpark just before game time. He left Thursday's game early to tend to an illness in his family.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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