Scioscia tries something different

As promised, Angels manager Mike Scioscia shuffled his lineup for Saturday night’s game, trying to find some missing chemistry – and runs – after going 0-for-19 the previous two games with runners in scoring position and striking out a total of 28 times.

Bobby Abreu was bumped up to No. 2 from No. 3, with Torii Hunter assuming the spot between Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero. Giving Erick Aybar a day off and taking over at shortstop, Maicer Izturis was placed in the No. 9 spot, giving the Angels a pair of table-setters in front of Abreu.

Two RBIs shy of 100 for the seventh straight year, Abreu has not been himself lately. He is in a 2-for-27 slide with 14 strikeouts, an uncommonly high number for a guy known not only for his ability to work counts but to put the bat on the ball and move it around the field.

By hitting Abreu second, Scioscia might free him up from thinking about driving in runs in favor of putting the ball in play behind leadoff catalyst Chone Figgins.

Abreu, 35, has 640 plate appearances in 145 games, trailing only Figgins among teammates. It could be a case of mental fatigue setting in for Abreu, who has made 119 starts in right field, 10 in left and 12 as a DH.

“I don’t know if it’s mental fatigue,” Scioscia said. “We talk to him every day to make sure he’s moving in the right direction. He feels fine physically. Mentally, he’s as strong as anybody I’ve been around.

“I don’t think that’s an issue. He’s been through pennant races. For a while he started squaring it up, but lately, obviously, he’s trying to find some things.”

Catchers Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis have been spending most of the time in the No. 9 spot with Abreu batting third. The start in that spot is the fourth for Izturis, and the Angels are unbeaten with him in the No. 9 hole.

“In theory, there are more options [with Izturis in front of Figgins],” Scioscia said. “We’re going to try to connect our hitters with this lineup, and the situational look is going to have to come from the bottom.”

Despite their recent struggles, eight of the nine hitters in the lineup were at .288 (Juan Rivera) or higher, but only three – Figgins and Kendry Morales (both at .301) and Hunter (.300) — were at .300 or better. Mathis is batting .209.

Guerrero, in quest of a 13th consecutive season batting at least .300, comes in at .296.

Even with their 0-for-19 the past two games, the Angels still lead the Majors in hitting with runners in scoring position at .295 and lead in overall batting average as well at .284.

 

 

3 Comments

I was listnimg to Angel talk last night and a caller asked
why dosn’t Scioscia move Vladdy down in the batting
order. Terry Smith said you can’t a veteran like Vladdy
to move down in the line up becouse of what he has done
for this term in the past. well if these are the ” rules ”
why not have the grounds keeper run the team. since
the manager can’t do what he wants. this is absolutley
rediculous. if this is how it works have the players make the line up, what a joke

I agree, I have been saying for a few weeks now that Vlady needs to move down the order. Until he gets back in a groove, then perhaps move him back up. He just isn’t as reliable this year with runners in scoring position. I would much rather have Tori, Rivera or Morales in there in those tough spots where you need a big hit or at least a quality out. Vlady just doesn’t have it this year, probably due to injury and the fact that he’s been adjusting to being a DH hitter. Right now, I think it’s mental too, as he doesn’t look comfortable up there at all with runners in scoring position…he’s pressing. I say let’s move him down to the 6th or 7th spot.

I will say though, that I agree with moving Abreu to the 2nd spot. That’s the spot he was in when the Angels were scoring a lot of runs in July and August. Next move needs to be Vlady down the order. At least try it and see what happens…before the post season.

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