Tag:Mike Scioscia
Posted on: September 9, 2008 9:32 pm
 

Pudge Rodriguez out, Angels need a secretary

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- One day after his dustup with Torii Hunter, Yankees catcher Pudge Rodriguez was not in the lineup for Tuesday night's game with the Los Angeles Angels.

New York manager Joe Girardi said something about "whiplash", and Rodriguez did spend some time in the trainer's room, but the catcher said it was nothing serious.

"I'm doing fine," Rodriguez said. "I'm doing good."

There was no word of suspensions. Maybe that'll come -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia said nobody from the league had called him with questions -- but it shouldn't.

Pudge elbowed Hunter, Hunter shoved back, there was an open-handed slap (nobody threw any punches) ... and then, following the ejections, the two met in a tunnel below Angel Stadium, apologized to each other and then did one of those handshake-hugs.

And that was before each was quoted offering apologies in the morning newspapers.

Rodriguez and Hunter settled it all on their own, like a couple of mature men.

Shouldn't baseball applaud that as a model for how others who lose their temper should behave?

"I'm not anticipating any suspensions," Scioscia said. "You never know what the league is going to do, but it was pretty benign.

"Those two guys are two classy guys. They play the game hard. They play to win. It was an unfortunate incident, but it really was rather mild."

The apology occurred when Rodriguez sent an envoy to the Angels' clubhouse to apologize to Hunter. At that point, Hunter, wanting to talk with Pudge himself, told the guy to ask Pudge to come out of the clubhouse and into the tunnel.

The conversation went from there.

"Pudge and I have had mutual respect for all these years," Hunter said. "It's like any pickup game at the gym. It can be your brother who fouls you as you're going for a layup. You might push your brother or friend, like, 'Hey, what are you doing?!'

"It was kind of like that."

It did make for a semi-light-hearted moment shortly after the ejections.

As the game was resuming, with emotions still overflowing and the Los Angeles dugout not quite settled down, Angels media relations director Larry Babcock phoned downstairs from the press box to inquire whether there were any ejections besides Hunter and Rodriguez so he could relay the information along to the broadcasters and other media.

The telephone in the dugout rang and rang. Finally, because nobody else was answering, outfielder Garret Anderson picked up. After speaking briefly with Babcock, Anderson hollered to his manager -- "Hey, Mike, it's for you!" -- before Babcock could ask for bench coach Ron Roenicke.

As you might expect, any manager -- Scioscia included -- doesn't really take kindly to being disturbed in the middle of a game. Which is why Babcock was seeking Roenicke.

The conversation went something like this:

"Hey Mike, I'm just double-checking whether there were any other ejections," Babcock asked.

"Of course there were ejections," Scioscia snapped.

"No, I know Hunter and Rodriguez were ejected. I just need to know whether there were any others. ..."

Um, that would be a no. And now, back to live action. ...

 

Posted on: May 15, 2008 1:26 am
 

Lackey pitches like an Angel

Look out, the Los Angeles Angels just got stronger.

A lot stronger.

Maybe that sounds funny on a night that saw the Angels endure a 5-1 beating by the Chicago White Sox. But that's small picture stuff.

Big picture? Ace John Lackey, who finished third in last year's Cy Young voting and led the American League in ERA, stepped onto a big league field for the first time in 2008, and all he did was look like he hasn't missed a step.

Lackey slammed the door on the White Sox for seven innings, holding the Sox to one run and six hits.

He was dominant, retiring 10 consecutive Sox batters during one impressive stretch and holding Chicago to one hit from the second through the seventh.

He worked ahead, pumping first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced -- including eight of his first 10.

He threw 99 pitches, 67 strikes, and basically looked like a Triple Crown thoroughbred out for a training jog. Of course, part of that may have to do with the fact that the White Sox rank 13th in the AL in batting average, seventh in runs and ninth in on-base percentage.

He was, quite simply, just as the Angels remembered him.

"It's good to have him back," said Jered Weaver, who took Lackey's opening day start and is 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA in nine starts. "We all work off of him, that's for sure."

"The challenge now for John is to maintain that from start to start," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

If you would have asked the Angels this spring whether they would have taken a 24-17 record and first place in the American League West in mid-May while playing without their top two starting pitchers, they may have strained their hamstrings leaping to say yes.

Yet, thanks in no small part to Joe Saunders (6-1) and Ervin Santana (6-0), there they were.

And who knows? Maybe this missed time will be beneficial down the stretch.

Lackey led the Angels with 224 innings pitched last season and, though he remained reasonably strong into the playoffs, he did get bounced around by Boston in his lone playoff start (four runs, nine hits in six innings).

Assuming he remains healthy the rest of the way, Lackey figures to clock in somewhere around 160 innings pitched by season's end. You figure that can only help come the stand-tall days of September and October (if the Angels advance to the postseason for the fourth time in five years).

"We'd rather have had him these last six weeks and take the chance that he wouldn't be fresher in October," Scioscia said. "If the benefit is that he'll be fresher, I don't see any silver lining."

Lackey won 19 games last season and Kelvim Escobar, who remains on the disabled list with shoulder issues, won 18. Escobar continues rehabbing at the Angels' spring training base in Tempe and the reports now are far more encouraging than they were this spring when the right-hander became so frustrated he said he thought he'd be out for the season.

Still, there is no timetable for when -- or if -- Escobar will return in 2008.

Likes: My pal Sam calling to tell me I overlooked a couple of key points in my rave about the burgers at Miller's Bar in Dearborn, Mich., in the Bull Pennings post from the other day. In addition to everything else I said, two other cool things about Miller's: There are only four things on the menu -- hamburger, cheeseburger, onion rings and fries. And, it's all on the honor system -- when you finish eating and drinking, you simply walk up to the bar and tell them what you had. Sam, who has spent a few evenings in Miller's in his life, has very good input -- these are two more endearing aspects to the joint. ... Angel Stadium. The remodel they did several years ago was terrific, and they keep it in great shape. ... The Marlins and the Rays, what fun we're having now, eh? ... The Sunday New York Times.

Dislikes: Gas prices. Nice summer we're about to have.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"She is beautiful, she is small
"She don't wanna play basketball
"There's no tellin' what she might do
"Before her doin' days are through
"But right now she can't even crawl"

-- John Hiatt, Georgia Rae

 

Posted on: April 19, 2008 12:00 am
 

Marathon nights and long memories

Lots of baseball people have long stories.

Few can tell the tales of a 22-inning marathon such as the one Colorado and San Diego played Thursday night/Friday morning in Petco Park.

After 659 pitches, 15 different pitchers and 6 hours and 16 minutes, the Colorado Rockies finally beat the San Diego Padres 2-1.

Then the Rockies flew to Houston for this weekend's series, landed a little after 8 a.m. ... and promptly got stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to check into their hotel.

Funny. Because as word boomeranged throughout baseball of the riveting/ridiculous/incredible goings-on in San Diego, the Seattle Mariners were spending some time in traffic, too.

"We were on the bus (Thursday night) leaving Oakland when we saw the score," Mariners manager John McLaren said, referring to the aftermath of his club's 8-1 victory at Whatever They're Calling the Oakland Coliseum Now. "We picked it back up when we landed here (in Southern California).

"I think it was in the 14th when we left Oakland and in the 20th when we landed."

Fortunately, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle and San Diego skipper Bud Black each were able to avoid being charged with inflicting cruel and unusual punishment Friday when they gave the men who caught the marathon game a night off.

Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba and San Diego's Josh Bard each caught the entire 22-inning affair, something Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't even have to do back when he was playing in 1989 in either of the Dodgers' 22-inning games.

Yep, the Padres and Rockies think they had it rough? How about the Dodgers in '89? They lost in Houston 5-4 in a 22-inning game on June 3, '89 ... then beat Montreal 1-0 in 22 innings on Aug. 23, '89.

"We couldn't score," Scioscia said Friday, cringing at the memory. "We could pitch, we just couldn't score."

Rick Dempsey started behind the plate for the Dodgers in the June 3 game, and Scioscia entered in a sixth-inning double-switch. He played the rest of the way, going 0-for-5 with two walks.

And wanna know something funny? That was on Saturday night. The next day, the Dodgers and Astros played 13 innings -- Scioscia started as the Dodgers catcher, hit a grand slam in the first and played nearly the entire game before being removed in the bottom of the 13th.

In the Aug. 23 game, Scoscia started but left in the eighth inning when Billy Bean pinch-ran for him.

His memories are vague -- he thought the Montreal game went 16 or 17 innings, not 22 -- but Scioscia distinctly remembers that after one of those games, several players remained at the stadium and slept in the clubhouse because they had a day game the next day and had to be back in the park in six or seven hours.

"A game that long, some guys start with sore hamstrings and end up healthy," Scioscia cracked.

Nevertheless, just in case, Torrealba wasn't the only Colorado player who was given the night off in Houston on Friday. First baseman Todd Helton, second baseman Jayson Nix and outfielders Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe also were awarded a night of rest. In Arizona, the Padres gave second baseman Tadahito Iguchi the night off.

Hurdle, who used eight pitchers -- Kip Wells got the win -- said he was close to using infielder Clint Barmes as his emergency pitcher. Padres manager Bud Black rode Bard behind the plate partly because his other catcher, Colt Morton, had pinch-hit in the 14th. Outfielder Paul McAnulty was Black's emergency catcher -- though the Padres skipper admitted Friday that McAnulty was blissfully unaware of that during Thursday's proceedings.

They staged a seventh-inning stretch at Petco Park in the seventh, 14th and 21st innings. And though they stopped selling beer in the seventh -- as is usually the case -- coffee and ice cream were big sellers late, Padres vice-president Richard Anderson said.

"I think that's the beauty of this game, it's unpredictability," McLaren, the Seattle skipper, said.

While talking about the Padres-Rockies game, McLaren, who grew up near Houston, recalled attending the Astros-New York Mets' 24-inning game on Monday night, April 15, 1968. He was in high school at the time, and you bet he stayed until the bitter end.

"My mom was waiting up for me, and when I got home she said, 'Don't think you're staying home -- you're going to school tomorrow,'" McLaren recalled, chuckling. "She thought we had gone someplace else after the game.

"When I got home from school the next day, she said, 'I should have known you'd stay until the final out.'"

Thursday's game was a record-setter for length, by innings, for both the Colorado and San Diego franchises. Black called it "incredible", adding that "everybody who was here will never forget it."

You would think that would be true.

Yet, Scioscia's memory on those two 22-inning games in 1989 is awfully fuzzy.

And, perhaps, there are those who were so exhausted they might even try to forget it. Detroit shortstop Edgar Renteria played in baseball's last 20-inning game, five years ago, and he even scored the winning run for St. Louis.

Yet, on Friday, as Detroit Tigers beat man Danny Knobler of the Booth (Mich.) Newspaper Group was putting together a note in the aftermath of the Padres-Rockies marathon, Renteria couldn't even recall it.

"I don't remember," Renteria said. "Not at all."

Thirty minutes later, Renteria still couldn't remember it.

"I'm serious, man," he told Knobler apologetically. "I don't remember."

Likes: Late-night baseball. I listened to the Padres' radio broadcast Thursday night, picking it up in about the 11th or 12th inning in my car when the Angels-Royals finished. Listened on radio until about the 15th inning, when I reached my house. Then I watched until the 20th inning on my family room television. Then I took the dog out for a quick walk between innings and caught the final two innings on my bedroom television. Padres broadcasters Ted Leitner and Andy Masur were very entertaining on the car radio and Matt Vasgersian -- one of the game's most underrated television play-by-play men -- and former pitcher Mark Grant were enjoyable as always on the tube. ... Springsteen's Hungry Heart, Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), Kitty's Back and You're Missing. Specifically, the organ parts.

Dislikes: Sad, sad day. Danny Federici, the E St. Band organist, passed away Thursday after battling melanoma for three years. Here's how you can help the cause, if you wish.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now the hardness of this world
"Slowly grinds your dreams away
"Makin' a fool's joke
"Out of the promises we make
"And what once seemed black and white
"Turns to so many shades of gray
"We lose ourselves in work to do
"Work to do, and bills to pay
"And it's a ride, ride, ride
"And there ain't much cover
"With no one runnin' by your side
"My blood brother"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Blood Brothers

 
 
 
 
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