By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
JUNE 7, 2002
GAME 58 - REDS AT ANGELS
ANAHEIM -- Mike Scioscia and Bob Boone were the Southland's two primary starting catchers in the 1980s, Scioscia with the Dodgers and Boone with the Angels.
Both interviewed for the Angels' managerial job after the 1999 season, with Scioscia landing the job and Boone eventually getting his in Cincinnati. Friday night they squared off as opposing managers for the first time.
Behind a four-run third inning and a solid outing from starting pitcher Aaron Sele, Scioscia and the Angels won Round One of the interleague series with Boone and the Reds, 4-3, before 35,341 at Edison Field.
Closer Troy Percival pitched the ninth for the Angels and gave up one run, but earned his 12th save of the season. It was his 437th career appearance, passing Chuck Finley for most by a pitcher in franchise history.
Garret Anderson had the big hit for the Angels, his two-out, two-run double off Reds starter Chris Reitsma (3-3) increasing the Angels' lead to 4-0 in the third inning. Sele took it from there, going 7 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season. Sele (6-3) gave up two runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking none.
Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., playing in only his 10th game since missing six weeks with a knee injury, strained his right hamstring when he grounded into a force play in the fourth inning. Griffey, who tore his left hamstring last year, is listed as day-to-day.
Scioscia and Boone are two of 10 former big league catchers currently managing in the majors. Of the 10, only Joe Torre's Yankees and Arizona's Bob Brenly have better records than Scioscia's Angels and Boone's Reds.
``Booney's got a great baseball mind, baseball runs in his family,'' Scioscia said before the game. ``If you ever have a conversation with Bob about baseball, you can sense his passion for the game. He's got his club going in the right direction.''
The Angels, too, are going in the right direction. With Seattle losing on Friday, the Angels moved to within one game of first place in the A.L. West. It's the closest the Angels have been to the division's top spot since April 7.
Sele was the key on Friday. After pitching at least seven innings only once in his first 10 starts, he pitched into the eighth inning in each of his past two. He gave up a run in the fifth inning on Todd Walker's RBI double before coming out with Barry Larkin on first and one out in the eighth. Larkin scored later in the inning, the run being charged to Sele.
Sele struggled early in the season, going winless in his first four starts. But he has turned things around after working out mechanical flaws in his delivery.
``He's really throwing the curveball now, finishing it instead of babying it,'' catcher Jorge Fabregas said. ``It's what we saw from him in Seattle. If he can locate and throw his curveball for strikes, we're in business.''
Sele retired the first nine batters he faced before Larkin singled to lead off the fourth inning. Larkin was on third with one out later in the inning when Sele struck out cleanup hitter Adam Dunn and got Juan Encarnacion on a fly to right to escape.
``The last two or three weeks he's made some adjustments, and his stuff is crisper,'' Angels pitching coach Bud Black said. ``And he's making his pitches. That's the key thing. Every pitcher over the course of a game is going to get in a jam. But he's making pitches to get out of 'em.''
The Angels got their offense going Friday in the third inning with the bottom of the lineup. No. 7 hitter Scott Spiezio led off the inning with a single, and Fabregas followed with a perfectly-placed hit-and-run single through the hole vacated by second baseman Todd Walker, sending Spiezio to third.
Adam Kennedy drove in Spiezio with a groundout to second, only Kennedy's 15th RBI of the season. David Eckstein followed with a walk and Darin Erstad singled to load the bases for Troy Glaus.
Glaus lined a single to left to score Fabregas, but Eckstein was out trying to score from second on left fielder Austin Kearns' throw to catcher Corky Miller. The RBI for Glaus was his 50th, second only to Alex Rodriguez (57) in the American League.
With two out, Anderson had the big hit of the inning, a two-run double to the left-center field gap, giving the Angels a 4-0 lead.
ANAHEIM -- The last thing Tim Salmon wanted Friday was a day off. Finally hitting like the Angels hoped he would, Salmon was on the bench for precautionary reasons after feeling ``tightness'' in his right hamstring on Thursday night.
Salmon said the hamstring felt tight all night, and when he doubled in the ninth inning he was replaced by pinch runner Julio Ramirez.
``I told (manager Mike) Scioscia, `You know what, I'm not comfortable in an all-out sprint. If I get on base, you might pinch run for me,' '' Salmon said. ``If I run real hard right now, we might be taking a chance.''
Still, when Salmon arrived at the ballpark Friday he told Scioscia he was OK to play. But he was on the bench and Orlando Palmeiro started in right field. Scioscia said he expects to put Salmon back in the lineup either today or Sunday.
``I told him he can't keep me out of the lineup,'' Salmon said. ``I've got to keep swinging.''
Salmon has been as hot as just about any other Angel hitter. He has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he's batted .459 (17 for 37). Since finish April with a .183 average, Salmon is hitting .339 in May and June, raising his season average to a season-high 273.
Pitcher Aaron Sele worked with backup catcher Jorge Fabregas Friday for his second consecutive start. Before these last two, Sele gave up a season-worst seven runs and 11 hits in a loss to the Royals on May 28 with regular catcher Bengie Molina behind the plate.
After that game, Molina said he was frustrated trying to work with Sele because Sele throws so many pitches and might use any of them in any count.
``For me to catch that guy, it's kind of hard,'' Molina said after the May 28 loss. ``He can throw any pitch at any time. I try to read his mind but sometimes I get frustrated when he shakes me off, just because I want to be with him.''
Friday was Fabregas' 12th start of the season. He's caught Sele (four times) and Ramon Ortiz (four), more than any other pitcher. Fabregas has not caught Kevin Appier all season.
Pitcher Kevin Appier acknowledged Friday that he felt tightness in his right (pitching) forearm during his start Thursday night. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs (four earned).
``It was one particular pitch that made my arm kind of tight,'' Appier said, adding that he believes he'll be able to make some adjustments between starts to fix the problem.
``I don't think he'll miss a start,'' Scioscia said. ``But it did affect his execution on some pitches (Thursday). It's something he's had touches with before but not as severe as (Thursday) night.''