No good wood

Angels pitchers are 2-for-12 in interleague play with three more games this weekend against the Dodgers. Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver and Kelvim Escobar will each get in a couple of hacks, that is if they aren’t driven from the games early.

While pitchers’ hits are always hard to come by, Escobar has a conspiracy theory as to why it might be even harder. Scot Shields said pitchers are each sent three bats every year by the bat companies, but Escobar doesn’t use his.

“I don’t think they send good wood to the pitchers,” said Escobar, who has one of the two hits.

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Angels have an option Q

News of the Giants using infielder Pedro Feliz at catcher last week got the old brain waves to finally stir. Who would be the Angels third catcher in case of emergency? Manager Mike Scioscia has been asked that question more than a few times in the past few years and has failed to answer it directly. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it is basically Scioscia’s response. It should come as no surprise that Robb Quinlan is open to donning the gear and playing catcher for a short stretch if necessary.

“I caught in high school a little bit, middle school, junior high school,” said Quinlan, a native of Minnesota. “I’ve been out there a few times to warm up a pitcher when the catcher is putting his stuff on. I’m fine with it. Hopefully it doesn’t come to it.”

Note that current Angels catcher Mike Napoli was listening to Quinlan’s takes on being a catcher. So whose equipment would Quinlan borrow to get behind the plate?

“Probably Napoli’s stuff,” Quinlan said. “It will be a little big on me in the gut area but other than that …”

No way Quinlan was getting away with that one.

“You have a bigger gut on you than I do guy,” Napoli fired back.

Quinlan relented and gave his teammate a little credit.

“Obviously it’s the toughest position in the game to play so it won’t be easy,” Quinlan said.

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Are you ready for some home runs?

Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark is known as a launching pad and the table could be set for some long balls tonight when the Reds play host to the Angels in an interleague matchup. The Reds’ 1-0 victory in 12 innings on Sunday was just the 29th game without a home run in the 356-game history of the ballpark along the Ohio River. In addition to that, there has been just one occasion when there were two consecutive games without a home run (Aug 6-7, 2005, against the Florida Marlins). There have been 922 home runs hit at the Reds’ park in its four-year history. The only other park to allow more over that same time span is the White Sox’s U.S. Cellular Field which has seen 955 home runs.

So what team will go deep tonight? Reds starter Bronson Arroyo has given up just six home runs this season, but five have come in his last four starts, with two coming in his last outing. Angels starter Kelvim Escobar has given up just three home runs and just one in his last seven starts. Looks like a long ball night is approaching for the Angels.

UPDATE: Casey Kotchman and Gary Matthews Jr. both went deep while the Reds had no home runs Tuesday. In the end, the Reds got the last laugh with a 5-3 victory.

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Santana gets grief over double

Angels pitchers had plenty to say in the locker room after Ervin Santana’s start on Saturday. It wasn’t that Santana picked up his first road victory that had everybody so talkative. The fact that he had a two-run double had the room buzzing.

“You might be the DH when we get back home,” Scot Shields said across the room.

“Batting champion,” Jered Weaver said while walking past Santana as he was answering postgame questions.

Santana’s double was big news among the pitchers. The starters typically have a friendly wager on who will deliver with the bat in interleague play. As of now, Santana is in front by a comfortable margin. Weaver gets his chance to catch up on Sunday.

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