Dave Hollins has a suggestion for those operating Anaheim Stadium’s out-of-town scoreboard during this crucial eight-game home stand: Take a few nights off.
“When we get back home, they shouldn’t even put the out-of-town scores up there,” Hollins said Tuesday in Toronto, where the Angels completed a disastrous 1-5 trip with a 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays.
“Just leave them off, and let’s see what happens every day. That way we’ll focus on our game, and we won’t have a chance to see what the other teams are doing.”
Those other teams are the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees, who are going to be out of sight soon unless the Angels go on a tear this week.
Seattle has a 5 1/2-game lead in the American League West and New York has a seven-game lead in the wild-card race, and the Angels have only 17 games left to close the gap.
Can it be done? Not without lots of help. The Angels must beat up on lowly Kansas City, Minnesota and Oakland this home stand, and the Mariners have to stumble against Detroit, Toronto and Texas.
The Angels have seven games left against a Texas team that can offer plenty of resistance in the form of Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Rusty Greer; the Mariners have seven games left against the mediocre A’s without Mark McGwire or Geronimo Berroa.
If the Mariners go 8-9 in their final 17 games, the Angels must go 13-4 simply to tie them. What’s more, while the left wrist of the Angels’ ace, Chuck Finley, remains in a cast, Seattle ace Randy Johnson, out for several weeks because of tendinitis in a finger on his pitching hand, probably will return this weekend.
“We lost our ace and our catcher [Todd Greene] who was giving us some sock,” Hollins said. “We’ve lost [17 of our last 24 games]. And we still have a shot. We just have to stop looking at the scoreboard and grind it out.”
After reliever Mike Holtz gave up an eighth-inning hit that drove in the go-ahead run in Monday night’s 12-10 loss to Toronto, Manager Terry Collins, in an effort to boost Holtz’s morale, told the left-hander he would not hesitate to use him again in a critical situation.
Sure enough, Holtz was back on the mound Tuesday night in the eighth with a runner at first, two out, and the Angels trailing Toronto, 1-0.
“I wanted to run him right back out there with . . . in a situation that meant something,” Collins said. “He’s our guy, he’s been brilliant all year long and has gotten us out of jams. He has to stay mentally tough.”
Holtz took another beating, though, giving up an RBI double to Shawn Green. The Angels lost, 2-0, so it’s not as if the hit cost them the game, but Holtz was as angry as he has ever been in his 1 1/2-year career, cursing himself as he walked to the dugout.
Division series playoff tickets will go on sale to the public at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Anaheim Stadium box office. Tickets also will be available at all Southland TicketMaster outlets.
Prices start at $12, and each person may purchase as many as six tickets per game.