Reporting from Detroit -- As dominant as Fernando Rodney and Kevin Jepsen have been, and as inconsistent as the rest of the bullpen has been, there would seem to be a temptation to expand the use of Rodney and Jepsen, whose appearances have been limited to one inning or less.
Not going to happen, Mike Scioscia said.
“One inning … one inning,” the Angels’ manager said, shaking his head. “There could be some circumstances to expand, but right now it’s one inning. We have a long way to go, and those guys are going to be critical.”
Jepsen, who has a 1.64 earned-run average, leads the American League with 14 appearances. Rodney, who has a 2.84 ERA and five saves, ranks second with 13.
The right-handers have pitched in the same game 13 times, with 11 of the team’s 12 wins coming on days both pitched. At this pace, Jepsen and Rodney would appear in about 80 games this season.
“Ideally, we’re not using both guys on a given night,” Scioscia said. “With our offense spotty, a little hit or miss, we haven’t had those days where we could give one of those guys a breather and still be able to win a game. Most of our wins, we’ve had to use both of them. That’s something we won’t be able to maintain.”
What if Jepsen or Rodney had an eight-pitch inning and the score was tied? Would Scioscia consider sending either out for a second inning? Probably not, considering that Jepsen was slowed by shoulder tendinitis last September.
“It’s something we’d consider if we had day off and they hadn’t pitched in a while,” Scioscia said. “But Kevin pitched a lot last year, and there were a lot of times when he came back for a fourth out and maybe his stuff wasn’t as crisp.”
Lookin at Lackey
The Angels’ 10-game trip continues in Boston, and former Angels ace John Lackey is scheduled to start Wednesday night’s game for the Red Sox in Fenway Park.
It will be the first time that Lackey, who signed a five-year, $82.5-million deal with Boston over the off-season, faces his former teammates.
“It will be a little different, but hey, he’s on the other team now,” Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick said. “I can tell you this: You know he’s going to come right at you.”
Will it be strange to look at Lackey, who played 7½ seasons in Anaheim and won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, as the enemy?
“I haven’t thought about that,” Kendrick said. “That might be a little strong — that’s a war term, and we’re talking about baseball — but he is a rival. It will be good to see him, but at the same time, we’re going to compete. We want to win.”
Hideki Matsui has been thrown out at the plate three times this season while trying to score from second base on a single with two outs, most recently in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 3-2 loss.
But that doesn’t mean that Matsui, slowed by arthritic knees, will get the stop sign. The Angels think Matsui was safe on two of the plays.
“There are times when you’re going to pressure outfielders, especially with two outs,” Scioscia said. “We’ve just run into some plays with Hideki that haven’t worked out, but that won’t deter us as far as what we need to do. He is running better, and he’s going to score runs we’re going to need.”
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