K-Rod a postseason all star

In what might have been the easiest choice the Sporting News crew needed to make, Francisco Rodriguez was named the American League relief pitcher on their postseason all-star squad. Here are the Sporting News picks, which were just announced via e-mail.

SPORTING NEWS’ ALL-STAR TEAMS

A.L.
C Joe Mauer, Twins
1B Justin Morneau, Twins
2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Carlos Quentin, White Sox
OF Josh Hamilton, Rangers
OF Grady Sizemore, Indians
DH Aubrey Huff, Orioes
SP Cliff Lee, Indians
RP Francisco Rodriguez, Angels

N.L.
C Geovany Soto, Cubs
1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2B Chase Utley, Phillies
3B David Wright, Mets
SS Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
OF Matt Holliday, Rockies
OF Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants
RP Brad Lidge, Phillies

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Elimination infuriates Lackey

The best team didn’t win in John Lackey’s humble opinion. Not long after the Red Sox won the ALDS with a walk-off victory Monday, Lackey was seething.

“They were better than us last year,” Lackey said. “They weren’t better than us this year.”

And there was this: “It’s like I want to throw something through a wall.”

And don’t even compare this ALDS to last year’s.

“It’s frustrating,” Lackey said. “It’s way different than last year. We’re a better team than they are.”

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Angels bullpen on the ready

Manager Mike Scioscia has already said that even though the bullpen was needed to absorb 7 1/3 innings Sunday, everybody is available for Game 4. Scot Shields pitched 2 1/3 innings and Jered Weaver went 2 innings, but Scioscia said that both could pitch today if needed. Darren Oliver (a third of an inning Sunday) might get more use than normal. Scioscia was noncommitial on using rookie Kevin Jepsen saying the staff is looking at situations “that might or might not be his role.”

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Red Sox lose Lowell

The Red Sox just announced that third baseman Mike Lowell was removed from the ALDS roster because of his ongoing right hip strain. He will be replaced by infielder Gil Velazquez. Lowell started Games 1 and 3 and was hitless in eight at-bats against the Angels. Because he was replaced, Lowell would not be eligible to play in the ALCS if the Red Sox advance. Velazquez has just eight major-league at-bats with one hit.

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Scioscia: "I'll guarantee a victory."

There was much debate a day ago, before Game 3, about whether or not Angels manager Mike Scioscia guaranteed a victory. While being asked to compare his team’s plight to that of the already defeated Cubs, Scioscia wouldn’t do it and said the Angels were not going to get eliminated.

It figured then that before today’s Game 4, Scioscia was asked if he was willing to make another prediction. The exchange went like this:

Reporter: You were confident enough yesterday to emphatically say to us, “we’re not getting eliminated.”
Scioscia: Let me say this, if there are more questions out there about be doing some kind of forensic anaylsis or pre-mortem, I’m going to have the same response. We’re going to win.

Different reporter: I think Jack was tryng to get you to guarantee a victory.
Scioscia: Well, ask me to do a forensic anaylsis and I’ll guarantee it. I’ll guarantee a victory. I’m not going to sit here and compare. The question yesterday was comparing us to what happened to the Cubs. The Cubs were eliminated. We’re not eliminated. That’s my position on that.

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ALDS Game 4 lineups

Just one slight change with the Angels lineup and it is a direct result of Mike Napoli’s productive Game 3. He will jump up one spot ahead of Juan Rivera. The Red Sox have made more changes. Mike Lowell (sore hip) is out with Kevin Youkilis playing third base and Mark Kotsay at first.

ANGELS:
Chone Figgins 3B
Garret Anderson LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Torii Hunter CF
Mike Napoli C
Juan Rivera RF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Erick Aybar SS

John Lackey P

RED SOX:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
JD Drew RF
Jason Bay LF
Mark Kotsay 1B
Jed Lowrie SS
Jason Varitek C

Jon Lester P

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Scioscia defiant before Game 3

A reporter (no, not this one) was asking Angels manager Mike Scioscia before Game 3 if there was any way to explain how the Cubs didn’t bring thier game against the Dodgers and the Angels haven’t brought thier’s against the Red Sox. Scioscia has even said as much, that the Angels haven’t been able to bring their game on the field. Apparently, Scioscia found something in the question he did not like.

“Well, first of all, we’re not getting eliminated tonight, so I’m not going to answer that question,” Scioscia said. “And we’ll talk about that if it comes up because we’re not going to talk about it now.”

So the reporter tried to explain that it’s not like he thought the Angels would get eliminated, but only that the “trend of play” has been different.

“We’re not getting eliminated tonight and we’ll talk about it at some point,” Scioscia said.

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Red Sox lineup for Game 3

No JD Drew, who hit the game-winning home run in Game 2. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he wants to be careful with Drew’s bad back and said that Coco Crisp has had some good at bats against Angels starter Joe Saunders.

Jacoby Ellsbury RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Jason Bay lF
Mike Lowell 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Jason Varitek C
Coco Crisp CF

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Angels Game 3 lineup

Mike Scioscia just annonced the lineup for Game 3 of the ALDS in Boston.

Chone Figgins 3b
Garret Anderson LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Torii Hunter CF
Juan Rivera RF
Mike Napoli C
Howie Kendrick 2B
Erick Aybar SS

Hunter’s hyperextended left knee is feeling just fine after sitting out Saturday’s workout. Kendrick (0-for-9 with five strikeouts) drops to the No. 8 spot as expected.

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Angels hint at OF change

Not only will Jeff Mathis start at catcher in Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday – taking his regular spot with Ervin Santana pitching – but a change in the outfield is expected as well.
With Gary Matthews Jr. feeling the effects from a sore knee while batting left-handed, he isn’t likely to start in Game 2. Either Juan Rivera or Kendry Morales will be in right field tonight against Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, although Matthews hasn’t been completely ruled out.

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