By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
AUG. 23, 2002
GAME 127 - ANGELS AT RED SOX
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox had a couple things going for them Friday night, and together they teamed up to beat the Angels, 4-1, before a sellout crowd of 33,221 at Fenway Park.
First and foremost, the Red Sox had pitcher Pedro Martinez on the mound. Martinez (17-3) gave up only a solo homer to Troy Glaus in his eight innings, cruising after the Red Sox offense score four runs in the first three innings off Angels starter Jarrod Washburn.
The Angels fell two games behind Oakland in the American League West and remain one game behind Seattle in the wild-card race. Boston moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Angels in the wild-card race.
In addition to Martinez's performance, the Red Sox also got a boost from a fan who does a remarkable impersonation of Angels right fielder Orlando Palmeiro.
In the fourth inning the Red Sox had Rickey Henderson on first base with nobody out when Nomar Garciaparra hit a popup in shallow right field just inside the foul line. Second baseman Adam Kennedy got there in time but backed off at the last moment and let the ball fall.
Luckily for the Angels, Palmeiro picked the ball up and threw to second base to force Henderson. But it was the kind of play that typified the Angels' fortunes on Friday.
``A fan said `I got it, I got it,' and I said `That's Orlando,' '' Kennedy said. ``He got me good. It was one guy whose voice stood out, and he got me. It's funny now because the run didn't score.''
No, that one didn't score. But when Henderson hit a popup to nearly the same spot one inning earlier, the outcome was different. Kennedy got turned around and the ball fell in for a single. Henderson scored on Garciaparra's double high off the Green Monster in left field.
The Red Sox added two more runs in the inning, both of which probably would not have scored had Kennedy made the play.
``The balls down the line seem to come back here more than other parks,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``I don't know if it's the wind or what.''
Kennedy wouldn't blame the wind.
``(Angels hitting coach) Mickey (Hatcher) calls it the Bermuda Triangle,'' Kennedy said. ``I was going where I thought the ball was going to be, but it wasn't there.''
Washburn (15-5) paid for the wayward popups and a few broken-bat hits, including one by Henderson where the barrel end of the bat had Washburn diving for cover.
Washburn has lost his past two starts after winning 15 of 16 decisions, but he said he isn't concerned because he said he threw well.
``I couldn't get upset because I was making my pitches,'' said Washburn, who gave up a season-high 11 hits in six innings. ``Balls found holes. You've got to laugh. You'd make yourself crazy if you let that stuff frustrate you. ... I didn't miss many spots, they just did a good job of putting the ball in play.''
Besides Glaus' homer in the seventh, the closest the Angels came to scoring off Martinez came in the fourth inning after Palmeiro singled with one out. Garret Anderson doubled into the right-field corner, but the Red Sox's relay -- right fielder Manny Ramirez to second baseman Rey Sanchez to catcher Jason Varitek -- nailed Palmeiro at the plate.
The Angels have lost three of four games, but Scioscia continues to preach his one-game focus. ``There's a lot of baseball left,'' he said. And the Angels players similarly don't want to put too much pressure on themselves.
``I don't think going out there and playing in a panic is best for us,'' Kennedy said.
Red Sox manager Grady Little, though, said Friday's game had a playoff feel to it.
``I don't think there is any question about it,'' Little said. ``Everyone knows what's at stake in a series like this. It's the same fore both teams, and you saw a lot of intensity out there. You saw a well-pitched game by a couple of good pitchers. We were just able to get a few timely hits and Pedro had another heck of a game. He's an amazing human being.''
BOSTON -- As Tim Salmon's absence stretches toward September, manager Mike Scioscia is pondering lineup possibilities to make up for the lost offense.
For now, Scioscia is going with Orlando Palmeiro in the No. 3 spot against right-handed pitchers and Scott Spiezio against left-handers. The two have combined to hit .318 (21 for 66) with one homer and 11 RBIs in 18 games hitting third. Scioscia has opted to go for on-base percentage over power in that spot, but that could change.
``If it's three or four weeks (that Salmon is out), that takes a big chunk of production away and a lot of stability from the lineup,'' Scioscia said. ``If it's prolonged or guys start to press trying to fill the void, we'll certainly look to rework the lineup.''
Salmon, who saw a hand specialist in New York, saw another hand specialist Friday in Boston, and he confirmed the diagnosis of a bone bruise. Salmon hasn't started a game since Aug. 10 and probably will be out until about Sept. 1. In the 11 games he's missed, the Angels are 7-4 and have averaged 4.2 runs a game, but they've lost three of the past four.
``We have a lot of options,'' Scioscia said. ``We could move Garret (Anderson) into the third spot and move everyody else up one, or we can hit Troy (Glaus) third. We have to make sure we have protection for every hitter. Right now, Palmeiro and Spiezio make sense.''
Salmon was probably the hottest hitter on the club when he was hit by a pitch in Toronto on Aug. 10. He's hitting .336 since the All-Star break and .395 in August.
``Any club has to be able to absorb the loss of key players for a douple weeks if they have to,'' Scioscia said. ``We have lost key people in short spurts, and you absolutely need to have the kind of depth that will carry you through those times.''
Infielder Chone Figgins spent all day Friday flying from Portland to Boston to join the Angels and put on a major league uniform for the first time. Figgins was in Portland playing for Triple-A Salt Lake when he was promoted to take the place of Salmon on the roster.
He arrived just in time to join his teammates on the field for their pre-game stretch and was greeted by some of them. Figgins is one of six players on the current major league roster that has spent time in the minors this season.
Friday's game between the Angels and Red Sox at Fenway Park was missing one very noticeable player -- former Red Sox and Angels first baseman Mo Vaughn.
The game was the first between the two teams at Fenway Park without Vaughn since 1990. Vaughn played for the Red Sox from 1991-98 and with the Angels from 1999-2001.
AUG. 24, 2002
GAME 128 - ANGELS AT RED SOX
BOSTON -- Angels bullpen coach Bobby Ramos walked up to starting pitcher Kevin Appier after Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox and said, ``Hey Looney, nice game.''
It was a well-deserved congratulations for Appier after he shut out the Red Sox on four hits through six innings in a 2-0 Angels win before a sellout crowd of 32,510 at Fenway Park.
And the ``Looney'' reference?
In the clubhouse before Saturday's game, Appier bounced across the room, joking with anyone who was within earshot. It's Appier's normal routine before his starts.
``I stay away from him on his start days because he's a nut, a nutcase,'' said closer Troy Percival, who pitched the ninth for his 31st save. ``That's his motivation, it gets him ready to go. You can tell he's amped up when he's out there.''
Appier got help from his defense, from the bullpen and just enough offensive support to get the win and improve to 12-9. Jose Molina had an RBI single in the second inning and Adam Kennedy has an RBI single in the fourth off Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield (7-5).
The win moved the Angels into a tie with the Seattle Mariners for the wild-card lead, two games behind Oakland in the American League West. Boston fell 2 1/2 games out in the wild-card race.
Some called it a big win, considering they were coming off three losses in four games and had fallen behind both Oakland and Seattle in the West.
``The makeup of this club will be one of our strengths down the stretch,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``Questions about where we are going ... we answered it. We're not going to go away. We're going to play the type of baseball we've played all year every day. We're confident we're going to be a playoff team.''
It all starts with pitching, and the Angels got it Saturday. Appier struggled early, walking two and giving up a single in the first inning. But he got Nomar Garciaparra to hit into a double play and got out of the inning unscathed.
In the fourth inning, Manny Ramirez led off with a double, but Cliff Floyd lined to first baseman Scott Spiezio, who doubled up Ramirez at second. Spiezio also made an outstanding defensive play in the second inning, robbing Trot Nixon of a hit.
Appier struggled in the fifth inning but got Johnny Damon on a fly to center with runners on first and third to end the inning. He ended his outing in the sixth by getting Floyd on a double-play grounder. And there were no problems with his hip-flexor muscle, which gave him problems in his previous start.
``He had to work for it,'' Scioscia said. ``We were looking at him and a couple of times he was out of sync, but he got right back in sync.''
Appier admitted he was in and out of sync all day.
``I was erratic,'' he said. ``Every five or six pitches, it just went poof. I had to make a lot of adjustments out there today.''
Appier has won his last three starts, in which he's given up only one run in 18 2/3 innings.
``What we need from him is production and for him to give us the effort he's been giving us,'' Scioscia said. ``Whether he does it because of experience, talent or savvy ... whatever it is, we need it.''
Brendan Donnelly, Scott Schoeneweis and Percival each threw a scoreless inning to finish it off and even the series at one game apiece.
Brad Fullmer led off the second inning with a double, but two outs later he was still on second. Molina, the No. 8 hitter, singled to right to drive in Fullmer. In the fourth, Spiezio doubled and went to third on Nixon's fielding error in right. Kennedy, the No. 9 hitter, singled Spiezio home.
``It's huge,'' Kennedy said when asked about production from the bottom of the lineup. ``Pitchers have to spend so much energy paying attention to the middle and top of the lineup, we (at the bottom of the order) need to take advantage of that.''
BOSTON -- He had hoped to be in the home dugout for the series between the Boston Red Sox and Angels this weekend at Fenway Park, but instead, Gary DiSarcina watched Saturday's game with his two children from a private suite.
DiSarcina was with the Angels from 1989-2001 before the club released him after last season. He signed with the Red Sox, his hometown team growing up, hoping to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing for them. However, he broke a finger in spring training, ruining any chance to make the opening day roster.
At Triple-A Pawtucket, DiSarcina hit .243 with one homer and nine RBIs in 35 games, but was bothered by his surgically repaired shoulder, which kept him out of action all of last season. He also was passed over when the Red Sox had an injury on the big league club and needed someone. Finally, he decided to retire on July 15.
``It wasn't hard at all,'' DiSarcina said of his decision to retire at age 34. ``It got to the point with my shoulder where it wasn't worth it. I could only play three days a week at second base. If there are 20 reasons to retire, I had 18 of them. My gas tank was empty and I have other things in life, like family and kids.''
Still, DiSarcina wonders what it would have been like to play for the Red Sox after growing up following the team so closely.
``It was an exciting moment in spring training to put the uniform on,'' he said. ``I always wanted to know what it would be like to be in that dugout over there.''
DiSarcina lives in Cape Cod, about an hour's drive from Fenway, but Saturday's game was the first major league game he's attended as a fan in ``16 or 17'' years. He spent nearly an hour in the Angels clubhouse before Saturday's game talking with former teammates.
``When looking at boxscores I go right to the Angels,'' he said. ``I see what they're doing. They've got better pitching, a better bullpen. Better uniforms, too.''
DiSarcina said he eventually would like to return to baseball as a coach. But for now, he spends most of his time ``hanging out with the kids, going to the beach and golfing.''
Infielder Chone Figgins has been with the Angels for two games now though he hasn't gotten into a game. Called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace the injured Tim Salmon on the roster, Figgins is busy absorbing his first experiences in the big league.
``I'm just trying to take it all in,'' said Figgins, who led the Pacific Coast League in runs (100), stolen bases (39) and triples (18).
Before a game in Portland, Figgins was told by Stingers manager Mike Brumley that he was going to Boston to join the Angels.
``I stood there for a minute, I thought he was joking,'' Figgins said. ``I said, `You're joking, right?' He said no. I couldn't breath.''
Figgins said he didn't sleep all night that night, making phone calls and making sure he'd get to the airport in time for his flight here. Now that's he's here, he just wants to be himself and play his game.
``I understand the higher up you go, the more consistent you need to be,'' he said.
Right-hander Mickey Callaway was called up from Salt Lake to start today's game against the Red Sox in place of the injured Aaron Sele, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday.
Callaway was 9-2 with a 1.68 ERA in 17 games for the Stingers. To make room for Callaway on the roster, the Angels sent left-handed reliever Mark Lukasiewicz to Salt Lake.
Despite the Angels' efforts to get him themselves, the Red Sox acquired left-handed reliever Alan Embree on June 24 from the Padres for two minor leaguers. When Embree gave up a single to Adam Kennedy in the ninth inning Saturday, it ended a streak of 18 consecutive batters retired. Twelve of those were strikeouts.
Embree consistently hit between 95-98 mph on the radar gun.