Angels’ Mike Scioscia defends late-game decisions against Padres
SAN DIEGO — With the Angels scrapping for the run that might have won Sunday’s game, Manager Mike Scioscia essentially took the bat out of the hands of his hottest hitter, Mike Trout.
Trout had singled twice and homered as he waited on deck in the 11th inning. The Angels had one out, Bobby Wilson on first and Ryan Langerhans at bat.
Scioscia called for a sacrifice. Langerhans delivered the bunt, Wilson took second, and the San Diego Padres took advantage of the open base by walking Trout intentionally.
Maicer Izturis grounded out, ending the inning.
The strategy appeared particularly curious because Wilson’s scoring from second base on a single would be far from a sure thing. Wilson, a catcher, has not stolen a base in the major or minor leagues in five years.
“If Izzy hit a ball that was not right at an outfielder, Bobby’s got a chance to score from second base,” Scioscia said. “For Mike to score Bobby from first, he’s got to hit the ball a long way.”
Scioscia said he wanted to ensure a runner in scoring position for Izturis, with Albert Pujols batting behind him. Izturis is a career .306 hitter with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve got a pretty good hitter with runners in scoring position,” Scioscia said.
Izturis has three hits with 21 at-bats in that situation this season, a .143 average. Overall, Izturis went 0 for 6 on Sunday, extending his hitless streak to 14 at-bats.
Trout’s home run Sunday traveled 414 feet, landing in the second deck above left field. He has 12 hits in his last 23 at-bats.
Trout is batting .377 this month, with a 1.052 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).
The Angels are expected to promote two players — at least one of them a pitcher — before Monday’s game against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels need a fresh bullpen arm — or two — after using six relievers in Sunday’s 13-inning loss.
Reliever Bobby Cassevah, who spent much of last season with the Angels, has not given up a run in four of his last five outings at triple-A Salt Lake, with no walks and four strikeouts. Reliever Kevin Jepsen, who was demoted from the Angels three weeks ago, also has not given up a run in four of his last five outings, with one walk and nine strikeouts.
Outfielders Vernon Wells (thumb) and Langerhans (shoulder) each is expected to go on the disabled list, according to Scioscia. Outfielder Torii Hunter, who left the team a week ago after his son was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, is not expected to return Monday.
The Angels used 21 players, all but closer Scott Downs and starters Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Jerome Williams. Dan Haren appeared as a pinch-hitter and struck out, the first Angels pitcher to be used as a pinch-hitter since Omar Olivares in 1998. … Pujols does not have a double this month. Pujols, who hit .217 in April, is batting .203 in May.
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