Sean Burnett was not dealing with a blister, in his mind or on the middle finger of his left hand.
Mike Scioscia seemed to disagree when he left right-hander Kevin Jepsen in to face A’s lefties John Jaso and Brandon Moss in the seventh inning with the southpaw Burnett available out of the bullpen. “Jeppy was the guy to get out of that inning,” Scioscia said, before mentioning Burnett’s blister.
Burnett said that there was no blister. Ever.
“It was more my nail came out of the bed” three days ago in Texas, he said. “It was a one-day thing. It happens all the time with my breaking ball … I was 100 percent.”
Burnett pitched Tuesday. He seemed healthy. He faced four batters in a scoreless eighth inning. Scioscia simply chose to save Burnett for the start of the eighth inning rather than the two-on, two-out situation in the seventh, citing the blister. It proved to be the wrong call.
Whether you attribute the Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Oakland A’s on Tuesday to Scioscia leaving in Jepsen too long, or to Jepsen for allowing two homers in the seventh inning, may be a matter of degrees. Six of one, half a dozen of another, there are still issues in the Angels bullpen. Right?
Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that Erick Aybar will “probably get the first crack” at occupying the number two spot in the lineup when the Angels open the season April 1 in Cincinnati.
“I think that’s what our template is and hopefully we’ll get a little chemistry in the last week” of spring training, Scioscia said.
Erick Aybar didn’t play, but the Dominican Republic advanced to the championship game of the World Baseball Classic on Monday by beating The Netherlands 4-1 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Miguel Tejada played third base for the DR, which eliminated the United States on Saturday in Miami. From the Associated Press:
Late lineup addition Moises Sierra hit a tying RBI double in the fifth, Jose Reyes added a go-ahead single two batters later and the Dominican Republic reached the WBC final with a 4-1 win against the Netherlands on Monday night.
Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI single as the undefeated Dominicans survived a rocky start from winner Edinson Volquez, who benefited from Sierra’s catch over the left-field wall in foul territory to end a first-inning threat.
”We didn’t try to make history,” Volquez said. ”We’re just trying to keep winning.’
We might see Aybar tomorrow. Here’s another look at his game-winning hit against the U.S. from Saturday, worth another look if only for the ridiculous called strike that preceded it:
Erick Aybar (left) celebrates with Dominican Republic teammates Robinson Cano (center) and Jose Reyes (right) after beating Italy 5-4 at the World Baseball Classic.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar only had one hit Tuesday for the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic, but it was a big one.
Aybar singled and scored the game-tying run as the DR erased a 4-0 deficit and beat Italy 5-4 on Tuesday in Miami. Aybar served as the designated hitter, with the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Reyes playing shortstop.
After a day off on Wednesday, the Dominican Republic returns to the field Thursday against an opponent to be determined.