ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Looking for something more wild than an amusement park yet more productive than a back-to-school sale in these final days of summer?
|When it comes to running, Mike Scioscia leads by example. (US Presswire)|
Yet there he was after Yankees center fielder Melky Cabrera was playing a little too deep and second baseman Robinson Cano was playing a little too far over. Matthews blasted out of the batter's box, rounded first hard and never hesitated.
Three batters later he scored, the Angels went on to win 7-6 in 10 innings and they no doubt immediately all went out for leg massages afterward.
Nobody in the game is more heads-up on the bases than the Angels, and nobody is more adept at going from first-to-third.
This year's merry band of Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera, Reggie Willits, Howie Kendrick, Maicier Izturis, Matthews and Co. isn't only raising the blood pressure of opponents, it's raising an already lofty Angels' bar even higher.
"I think as far as on the bases, going from first-to-third, this team is every bit the team we had in '02, and maybe more," says manager Mike Scioscia, whose '02 club, you may recall, ran all the way to a World Series title.
What the Angels lack in muscle they make up for in sheer brazenness. They're down in the AL pack in slugging percentage (ninth), walks (11th) and home runs (13th), yet they rank fourth in runs scored.
They're low on the list of home runs by a designated hitter (Willits, their regular DH, has zero -- count 'em -- in 337 at-bats), but they're high atop the charts when it comes to causing distemper in opponents.
When they were in St. Louis in June, Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds at one point growled to Figgins that the Angels "run like a pack of dogs."
Figgins and Cabrera still chuckle over that one.
"That's a compliment for us," Cabrera says.