John Lackey’s season debut with the Angels lasted all of two pitches to Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, as he was ejected after hitting Ian Kinsler in the ribs with a pitch. The hit-by-pitch came after Lackey’s first pitch sailed behind Kinsler’s back.
Mike Scioscia is currently arguing his case to no avail. Shane Loux to enter in relief.
Ervin Santana and John Lackey will be activated from the disabled list this week, throwing the starting rotation into flux. Matt Palmer will start today against Tim Wakefield as scheduled before Santana makes his 2009 debut Thursday afternoon against Brad Penny.
Joe Saunders, originally scheduled to pitch Thursday, will take the mound in the opener of the series at Texas Friday before Lackey makes his debut Saturday.
The Angels retained their 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning when leftfielder Juan Rivera threw a one-hop frozen rope home, nailing Jacoby Ellsbury’s attempt to try to tag up from first base.
Ellsbury led off the sixth with a single off Jered Weaver – who has given up only three hits thus far – and stole second before advancing to third on a tag up off a Julio Lugo fly ball to right. David Ortiz hit a slightly shallow fly ball to left, which Rivera caught and threw home to get Ellsbury on a bang-bang play.
Boston starter Justin Masterson’s three walks and one hit batter in the first two innings apparently didn’t move home plate umpire Jim Joyce, who gave Masterson and both clubs a warning after Masterson threw a pitch behind Torii Hunter to lead off the bottom of the third. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
It’s a 1-1 tie right now, with the Angels having left five runners on base during the first two innings. A Kendry Morales sacrifice fly brought in Maicer Izturis in the bottom of the first for the Angels, while J.D. Drew hit a solo homer in to straightaway center off Jered Weaver in the second.
With starting pitcher Anthony Ortega sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake Sunday, the Angels brought up catcher Bobby Wilson from the Bees. Wilson, who made a cameo for the Angels last September, made his first appearance in the Angels clubhouse since the tragic death of pitcher Nick Adenhart, a good friend of his, on April 9.
Wilson made it a point to stop by Adenhart’s locker, which is as it was left after Adenhart’s last game the night of April 8. Stopping by his former roommate’s locker gave Wilson the perspective he needed.
“The way the locker looks is vintage Nick,” Wilson said. “That’s exactly how I would imagine he would have left it. (Going by the locker) was a hard thing to do, but I guess it gives a little more closure. Not complete closure, but I’m glad I saw it.”
Wilson, who keeps in regular contact with the Adenhart family, could very well be sent down later this week, when John Lackey and/or Ervin Santana are recalled from the disabled list. But that’s something that Wilson is at peace with, especially after the tragedy that befell his close friend.
“Ultimately, it’s just baseball and just a game,” Wilson said. “We are blessed to be playing in it and quite frankly, it’s supposed to be fun. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try hard or put all my effort out there, but it’s just a game.”
Lineups for tonight’s Red Sox-Angels game at Angel Stadium. Boston is without All-Star first baseman Kevin Youkilis for the seventh straight game with a tight lower left side and without American League MVP Dustin Pedroia at second. Pedroia left Sunday’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays with a strained groin.
In their place is Jeff Bailey, who is playing first and batting seventh, and Nick Green, who is playing second and batting ninth. Justin Masterson (2-2, 5.28 ERA) is starting for Boston against Jered Weaver (3-1, 2.66 ERA) – who is fifth in the AL in ERA and coming off his first career complete game against Toronto this past Thursday.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Julio Lugo SS
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Jason Bay LF
5. Mike Lowell 3B
6. J.D. Drew RF
7. Jeff Bailey 1B
8. Jason Varitek DH
9. Nick Green 2B
1. Chone Figgins 3B
2. Maicer Izturis SS
3. Bobby Abreu RF
4. Torii Hunter CF
5. Kendry Morales 1B
6. Mike Napoli DH
7. Juan Rivera LF
8. Howie Kendrick 2B
9. Jeff Mathis C
Starting pitcher Kelvin Escobar’s start in extended spring training Monday in Arizona reportedly went off without a hitch, as Escobar threw 45 pitches in the next step in recovering from right shoulder surgery.
“(Kelvim) threw very well,” Scioscia said. “Everything we’ve heard about it is good right now.”
While Escobar looks on track, for the time being, to come back early next month, Dustin Moseley suffered a setback. Moseley, out since April 18 with a tight right forearm, felt some pain in his neck after a throwing session and will be slowed down while that is addressed, according to Scioscia.
The Angels haven’t officially announced when John Lackey will start in this weekend’s series at Texas, but as far as Lackey’s concerned, he’s ready to come back from his strained right forearm injury after throwing 79 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Salt Lake Sunday. Although that announcement could come as early as today, Lackey made it known how he feels
“I feel really good, like I’m ready to go,” Lackey said. “I have a good idea of when my body is ready – I’ve been around the block a couple of times.”
Lackey’s position in the rotation could be based on the status of Ervin Santana, who pitched in a rehab start Saturday and threw a bullpen session earlier today, If Santana comes back ready, he would likely be inserted into the rotation Friday while Lackey would be reintroduced Saturday.
“There are a lot of factors that we still have to consider,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We aren’t expecting any setback or anything, but we just want to make sure they are completely ready before we announce anything.”
Entering the current three-game series with the Angels, the Kansas City Royals were as hot as they’ve been in years, winning six in a row and eight of their last nine.
That streak came to an end last night, but 18-12 Kansas City, with its newfound success, is causing Angels centerfielder Torii Hunter to recall his early days with the Minnesota Twins.
“They remind me a lot of my days in Minnesota,” Hunter said. “From 1998 to 2001, we were getting lit up pretty regularly, but we kept working and battling. In 2002 it started to click for us and come together. It seems like that’s happening for them now.”
In a somewhat goofy game, the Angels moved to .500 for the first time since April 12 with a 4-1 victory over the Royals – breaking a six-game Kansas City winning streak. Not that Mike Scioscia is concerned with it.
“We really don’t care about that right now,” Scioscia said. “Our strategy isn’t going to change just so we can be .500 at this point of the year. We are going to go out there and work the same way we have been working.”
Howie Kendrick provided the big hit with a sixth-inning inside-the-park two-run homer that put the Angels up 4-1. The homer, a fly ball along the right field foul line that Kansas City rightfielder Jose Guillen couldn’t get to, bounced around the fence at the warning track, allowing Kendrick and Juan Rivera to score easily.
The homer was the first of the year off Kansas City starting pitcher Gil Meche, who struck out seven in the losing effort. Matt Palmer struck out five and gave up two hits in 5 1/3 innings to get the victory, moving to 3-0, while Mike Napoli went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Great pitching matchup coming up tomorrow, as Zack Greinke (6-0, 0.40 ERA) starts for the Royals against Joe Saunders (4-1, 3.29 ERA) at 6:05 p.m.