Game 9: Athletics-Angels …
Perhaps you’ll notice a slightly difference lineup tonight …
SP: RH A.J. Griffin (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-0, 1.59 ERA)
- OK, here are the most important things to know about why Mike Scioscia made this move … (1) Trout can get more opportunities to drive in runs if hitting second in the batting order; (2) connecting Trout, Pujols and Hamilton can make the lineup more dangerous; (3) Callaspo doesn’t have the speed of a prototypical leadoff hitter, but he gets on base and, as Scioscia said, “You only lead off one time;” (4) Erick Aybar will probably bat leadoff once he returns from his left heel contusion.
- Personally, I would’ve gone Trout-Hamilton-Pujols-Trumbo-Kendrick. That way, you still connect the big three, Hamilton gets more pitches to hit and Trout has the ability to come up more often. But Scioscia doesn’t believe batting second will impact how he’s pitched and said keeping him in the cleanup spot is “critical to us right now.”
- Aybar has made a drastic turnaround with his left heel. Yesterday, it looked like a given that he can land on the DL. Today? “He’s done a total turnaround, like ‘Heaven Can Wait.’ Yesterday, he really couldn’t put no weight on it at all. By the time the game was over, he had treatment all night on it and he was walking around. It was very encouraging. He even feels better today. Hopefully it’s just a matter of days with him getting back into the lineup.”
- Ryan Madson has had some encouraging signs, too. He threw another bullpen session today, pitching with only one day of rest in between for the first time. He threw 30 pitches, fastballs and changeups, at 100-percent intensity. A late April/early May return never looked so promising.
- Jered Weaver will probably throw off flat ground, with somebody catching for him so he doesn’t really move his left arm, within the next three to five days.