The last week has had a spring training feel about it with starting lineup changes and pitchers who have been getting a token inning of work here and there. John Lackey threw just 74 pitches Friday night even though he was dominating against the A’s. Manager Mike Scioscia admitted Saturday that he has been transported back to Tempe, Ariz.
“Yeah it’s almost like the end of spring a little bit where you’re trying to make sure you’re prepared for a bigger challenge,” he said. “I think as important as it is to go out there and play baseball and keep that edge, it’s equally important to make sure there is a little work schedule where you are sure your bullpen will be sharp and fresh. Your regulars, if they need to recharge they can recharge, and if they need at-bats get them at-bats. There is a balancing thing that’s going on.”
The Angels are still awaiting work on whether their ALDS series at Boston will start Wednesday or Thursday. No matter what happens with that, the team’s plan is to fly home from Oakland on Sunday night and have Monday off, although if the ALDS starts Wednesday, they will fly to Boston on Monday afternoon. If it starts Thursday, the plan is to work out at Angel Stadium on Tuesday morning and fly to Boston Tuesday evening.
Because the Angels and A’s are playing a day game up in Oakland on Saturday and the Fox network is not interested in broadcasting it, the game will be the only one this season not on live television. So the Angels will do the next best thing. They will tape the broadcast and air it at 4 p.m. on Channel 13. The 4 p.m. time slot is the first one that falls out of Fox’s restricted time space (“air space” would have made it sound like Fox controls flight patters or something). Guess a taped broadcast is better than nothing. For those who can’t wait, it always can be heard live on the radio at 710-AM and 830-AM in Spanish.
And since we’re talking about a Saturday radio broadcast, might as well tune in about a half hour before the game and listen to the “Reporters’ Rountable” hosted by Terry Smith. The guests, per usual, will be myself Doug Padilla, Matt Hurst of the Riverside Press Enterprise, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times, Bill Plunkett of the OC Register and Lyle Spencer of mlb.com. It’s the final show of the season so anything goes.
The Angels are expected to have 10 pitchers and 15 position players on their postseason roster, with some spots still in doubt. Here is our projection for what the roster will look like for the first round.
Pitchers: Justin Speier, Jered Weaver, Darren Oliver, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, Dustin Moseley and Scot Shields.
Position players: Jeff Mathis, Maicer Izturis, Chone Figgins, Garret Anderson, Orlando Cabrera, Juan Rivera, Kendry Morales, Gary Matthews Jr., Vladimir Guerrero, Erick Aybar, Casey Kotchman, Robb Quinlan, Mike Napoli, Howie Kendrick and Reggie Willits.
On the pitching side, Bartolo Colon and Chris Bootcheck are left out. Moseley gets the nod over Bootcheck based on his four shutout innings against the Rangers on Tuesday. On the position player side, Nathan Haynes finds himself on the outside looking in. This, of course, is the projected roster. The actual roster is due before the first playoff game. And remember, the roster can be changed again for the ALCS and the World Series.
Manager Mike Scioscia was asked if he knew his team’s magic number and immediately, he wanted clarification.
“Define magic number,” Scioscia said. “Is that the year the good Lord takes us, or are you talking about winning the division?”
Scioscia, of course, will do anything he can to halt talk about the team’s upcoming clinching party. Ask about the postseason roster and Scioscia will talk about how tonight’s game is his only focus. Ask about the importance of earning the top seed in the AL playoffs and he says that those types of questions will be relevant at a later. At least that answer is an admission that the playoffs are coming.
Here is a perfect example of the length Scioscia will go to avoid postseason questions. Scioscia was asked by yahoo.com’s Tim Brown if looking at the standings is part of his daily routine.
“I haven’t looked at the standings since probably the All-Star break,” Scioscia claimed.
Responded Brown: “Well, I have good news for you.”