TEMPE, Ariz. — The Dodgers and the Angels will have instant replay at their disposal for their first head-to-head Cactus League game of 2014. Managers Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia are able to challenge one umpire’s call during the first six innings. In innings 7, 8 and 9 the umpires can initiate a challenge.
The camera angles at Tempe Diablo Stadium aren’t what they will be during the Freeway Series, when replay will be in use for the first time. But Prime Ticket is televising the game, so at least the teams won’t be at the mercy of an in-house video feed.
It’s the first replay game for the Dodgers and the fourth for the Angels. Scioscia has already thrown one challenge and lost; I asked him this morning if he’ll challenge for the sake of challenging — practice for the manager, practice for the umpire, practice for Nick Francona.
“You have to practice the logistics that’s for sure, but I don’t want to make a mockery of it,” he said. “If there’s a play that makes sense — I know the umpires are looking forward to the challenge, just so they can get their end of it worked out too.”
Here are the lineups for both teams:
Before he was named manager of the Angels, Mike Scioscia honed his coaching chops in the Dodgers’ minor-league system. In 1999, he managed the Triple-A Albuquerque Dukes to a 65-74 record.
A couple years before that — we’re guessing 1995 or ’96 — he got his first exposure to coaching, and he remembered it as a real wake-up call.
“I remember the first field I went down to in instructional league and Chico Fernandez was our infield coach with the Dodgers,” Scioscia said. “I went down to do the catching, and he said ‘Mike, who did you like?’ I said nobody. You are just seeing the (players) raw. Oh my God. But you know who was on that field? (Adrian) Beltre. (Paul) Konerko. As these kids start to get a little separation from being teenagers you see that growth and you see that stone getting polished. And then you go, ‘wow.’ It’s almost that culture shock of going down and seeing an 18-year-old when you’ve only been seeing 28-year-old all-star caliber players in the major leagues.”
I stumbled into a long conversation with Davey Lopes about baserunning on Friday (it’s not hard to do). Specifically, we talked about Nick Punto’s head-first dives into first base, which had morphed from a novelty into a regular occurrence –it happened three times in one game earlier this month, and twice more on Wednesday.
That was the lead subject of yesterday’s Dodgers notebook. Here’s more from Lopes: