Advertisement

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia is sticking with struggling Josh Hamilton

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia is sticking with struggling Josh Hamilton
Angels slugger Josh Hamilton has not made solid contact in Games 1 and 2 after missing 22 of 23 games because of shoulder, chest and rib-cage injuries. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

Josh Hamilton has three hits, including two homers, in 25 at-bats against Kansas City ace James Shields, a .120 career average that would make some managers hesitant to start Hamilton in a win-or-go-home game.

Not Mike Scioscia, who said Hamilton will play left field and bat seventh for the Angels in Game 3 of the American League division series against Shields and the Royals on Sunday.

Advertisement

Many fans would prefer that Efren Navarro or Collin Cowgill play ahead of Hamilton, who is hitless in nine at-bats in the first two games of the series.

But Scioscia made it clear on Saturday that he has not given up on Hamilton, who has not made solid contact in Games 1 and 2 after missing 22 of 23 games because of shoulder, chest and rib-cage injuries.

"He's obviously searching for some things in the box, but he's playing great outfield for us," Scioscia said. "He made some terrific catches, and that's big if you're playing in our ballpark or coming to this park. He's the type of guy who, when he gets it, gets it for a long time, and it's something our offense needs."

Frequent flying father

There are whirlwind weeks, and then there's the one Royals closer Greg Holland just had.

Holland threw a scoreless ninth in Tuesday's wild-card win over Oakland in Kansas City, traveled to North Carolina on Wednesday for the birth of his first child and flew to Orange County on Thursday, arriving at Angel Stadium in the fifth inning of Game 1.

"I made a few security guards nervous running up with an equipment bag over my shoulder and my ID in my hand saying, 'I'm a player,'" Holland said. "I didn't want them to tackle me to the ground. Guys were like, 'You're a player? That's not possible because the game is in the fifth inning.' I explained the details, and they let me in."

Holland entered Game 1 in the 11th inning, striking out two of three for the save. He threw a scoreless 11th for the save in Game 2 Friday night.

"Physically, I was worn out," Holland said. "But once I got into my routine, warmed up and threw that first pitch for a strike, it was business as usual."

Bring the noise

Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson is looking forward to pitching before a raucous crowd in Kauffman Stadium.

Royals fans are getting their first taste of playoff baseball in 29 years, and if the decibel levels they produced in Tuesday night's dramatic 12-inning, wild-card win over Oakland is any indication, it will be loud for Game 3.

"I was at a restaurant watching the game, and the crowd was just going crazy, losing their mind, and I was thinking, 'Man, this is a cool environment,' that's the environment you want to play in," said Wilson, who has a 1-5 record and 4.82 earned-run average in 10 career postseason games.

"As a kid you say you want to pitch in the playoffs or get the game-winning hit and you envision doing it in front of 50,000 people, not 18 people sneezing and coughing at a spring-training game. This is more fun. It's better. It's more energy, more intense. The good thing is having some experience in these situations and knowing what to expect from a hostile visiting crowd."

Advertisement

Long ball

Mike Trout is hitless in eight division series at-bats, but Kauffman Stadium might snap him out of his slump. The Angels center fielder hit the two longest homers of his career here, a 489-foot shot on June 27 and a 463-foot shot in May 2013.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

Advertisement
Advertisement