BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA
Pressure's on Angels, Yankees
The American League takes center stage Friday with Game 2 of each series on the docket and two teams looking to rebound from crushing defeats in their openers. The Angels got overwhelmed by Josh Beckett
and the Red Sox in Game 1 of their Division Series on Wednesday and hope that a day of rest will warm up their bats. Problem is that they're facing a pitcher they've never seen live in Daisuke Matsuzaka
, who tends to thrive against first-time opponents, and their starter, Kelvim Escobar
, has been inconsistent recently.
The Yankees don't have the same level of worry with the ever-reliable Andy Pettitte
on the mound, but he'll have to find a way to cool off the Cleveland bats. The Indians exploded against Chien-Ming Wang
and may have delivered a knockout blow with their Game 1 effort. They are among baseball's best against left-handed starters (32-19 this season), and they have the major momentum that Fausto Carmona
brings into this start. If they don't take a more careful approach into these games, both the Yankees and Angels could find themselves down two games heading into the weekend matchups.
|ALDS GAME 2
|PITCHING PREVIEW: YANKEES VS. INDIANS
|Andy Pettitte, Yankees (15-9, 4.05 ERA)|
|• 6-7 career vs Indians in regular season, 0-3 against them in postseason.
• Has won five of last six Division Series decisions.
• Possible cause for concern: 5.86 ERA in last six starts.
|Fausto Carmona, Indians (19-8, 3.06 ERA)|
|• Only pitcher in the majors to win five games in September.
• Last loss at Jacobs Field was Aug. 10 against the Yankees (7 IP, 4 ER).
• In light of C.C. Sabathia's control issues, he walked no hitters in two of his last three starts, and had four walks in his other start.
|PITCHING PREVIEW: ANGELS VS. RED SOX
|Kelvim Escobar, Angels (18-7, 3.40 ERA)
|• Last three starts at Fenway Park have been quite good, with a 2-0 record and three earned runs allowed in 19 innings.
• Went 3-0 in last four starts, but had 6.86 ERA, including two games in which he allowed six runs.
• Key matchup: David Ortiz: .192 BA, 10 strikeouts in 26 at-bats against Escobar.|
|Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox (15-12, 4.40 ERA)|
|• Interesting decision to start him at home (4.86 ERA) as opposed to road (4.02 ERA).
• Moment of truth may come in second inning, if he has to face meat of the Angels order. Matsuzaka has allowed only two second-inning runs all year.
• Familiarity factor: Has never faced a batter on the Angels roster
NEWS AND NOTES
• Vladimir Guerrero
is likely to return to right field for the first time in a month when the Los Angeles Angels
play the Boston Red Sox
in Game 2 of their AL playoff series on Friday.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia also said that Garret Anderson
could play left despite conjunctivitis that swelled his right eye so much it looks like he took a punch.
Guerrero hasn't started in right field since Sept. 4 because of an irritated right triceps that limited him to designated hitter.
"Everything looks good," Scioscia said after Guerrero worked out in right field Thursday, a day after the Angels lost 4-0 in the series opener.
• Yankees first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz
accidentally got tangled up with a TV cameraman and injured his left ankle hours before the New York's playoff opener Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians
Mientkiewicz, who's had problems with that ankle in the past, started the game. He popped out in his only at-bat and was replaced by pinch-hitter Shelly Duncan in the fifth inning of New York's 12-3 loss.
"He came out because we were down in the game and I was trying to get something started," manager Joe Torre said. "He was limping a little bit after he came out, but hopefully he'll be all right. Hopefully."
The cameraman, a freelancer hired from the Cleveland area, was fired by the YES Network. The network did not reveal his name.
The accident occurred while Mientkiewicz was walking up a ramp at Jacobs Field. The cameraman was recording while backpedaling.
• Rockies manager Clint Hurdle downplayed video that showed closer Manny Corpas
pouring liquid on his body in the bullpen before pitching against Philadelphia in Game 1 of the NL Division Series. Corpas was caught by TBS cameras on Wednesday taking a sip of a liquid out of a cup and then pouring some down the back of his neck and all over the front of his jersey. Corpas, who earned the save in Colorado's 4-2 win, patted his chest and rubbed his fingers before throwing a pitch.
"I still haven't looked at the tape so I still don't know what happened," Hurdle said Thursday before Game 2. "Until I get further direction from somebody else, I think we'll handle it internally."
The widow of Colorado Rockies
minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh
, who died after getting hit by a line drive this season, will be granted a full share of the team's playoff winnings after a team vote.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said the gesture spoke volumes about the quality of the character in their locker room.
Coolbaugh, who is 32 and pregnant, won't attend Saturday's Game 3 of the NLDS between the Phillies and Rockies at Coors Field. But her two sons, Joseph, 5, and Jacob, 3, will be in attendance and will throw out the first pitch.
"When I heard about what the players did, I almost cried," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "This was the players' idea. I think it's remarkable."
Mike Coolbaugh was a first base coach for the Tulsa Drillers. The former major leaguer was killed July 22.
|BASEBALL TONIGHT MINUTE|
Karl Ravech, Eric Young and Tim Kurkjian focus on the keys to Friday's matchups.
|IN THE ZONE
Julio Lugo, Red Sox
Of all the batter vs. pitcher matchups going into Friday's AL Division Series games, the one that favors the hitter is the most is Lugo against Angels starter Kelvim Escobar. Sure, Lugo has had a highly forgettable offensive season (.237 BA/.294 OBP/.349 SLG), but he's been solid in his career against Escobar, going 4-for-7 (.571) with a home run and two walks.
From time to time, we'll be checking in with Alex Rodriguez to find out how he's doing toward alleviating concerns about his ability to perform in the postseason. Here are his current numbers:
0-for-2, 2 walks
36 G, .276 BA, 6 HR, 16 RBI, .485 SLG
CAREER WITH YANKEES:
21 G, .235, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .420 SLG
LAST 13 GAMES:
4-for-43 (.093), 0 RBIs
|THIS DATE IN POSTSEASON HISTORY
Dusty Baker may have spent part of Thursday reminiscing about one moment that happened on this date. In the 1977 NLCS, Baker hit a grand slam for the Dodgers in their win over the Phillies. It would be 30 years minus one day before the next one against the Phillies, by Rockies second baseman Kazuo Matsui, powering the Rockies to a Game 2 victory. Baker, currently working the Yankees-Indians series for ESPN Radio, may talk about a few other memorable moments from this date, including a few listed below, when he handles the call with Jon Miller on Game 2 of the ALDS tonight
1997: Beating Mariano
The Yankees are faced with a must-win situation Friday and will likely call on Mariano Rivera a little earlier than usual if needed. But the memories for Rivera from this date are not all good. Friday marks the 10th anniversary of Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS when, with the Yankees on the verge of clinching the series, Sandy Alomar Jr. hit an eighth-inning, game-tying home run off Rivera. Omar Vizquel won the game with a walk-off hit in the ninth, evening the series at two. The Indians then won Game 5 the next day (beating 2007 Game 2 starter Andy Pettitte) to take the series.
1967: Almost perfect
Josh Beckett retired 19 straight hitters in Boston's Game 1 victory over the Angels. Forty years ago Friday, Red Sox starter Jim Lonborg did the same, only his were the first 19 batters of the game. Lonborg ended up with 6 1/3 perfect innings, and 7 2/3 no-hit innings. He pitched a one-hit shutout as the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series.
1947: Oh, Doctor!
One of the best Web Gems in postseason history took place 60 years ago Friday in the World Series, when Brooklyn outfielder Al Gionfriddo made a running, reaching one-hand catch against the bullpen, robbing Joe DiMaggio of an extra-base hit, quite possibly a home run.
|DICE-K VS. ESCOBAR|
Amy Nelson reports on the Daisuke Matsuzaka-Kelvim Escobar pitching matchup in store for Game 2 at Fenway Park.
|QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Let's just get over it and lick our wounds and then we'll figure it out."
-- Yankees manager Joe Torre