Angels ‘are human,’ will scoreboard watch …
Every game in Sunday’s potential regular-season finale will start at 2 p.m. CT, which means every score from from around the Majors will be displayed on Globe Life Park’s left-field fence. That includes the Astros game in Arizona. The Angels need the Astros to lose to force a Monday tiebreaker at Minute Maid Park, and if they jump to a big early lead, Angels players will notice.
Whether they want it to or not, it could affect how they approach their own game.
“It may be hard to keep up the same intensity,” Angels shortstop Erick Aybar said in Spanish on Sunday morning.
“Everybody in this dugout, on this field, coaches included, are going to be human,” Mike Scioscia added. “We know the situation. I don’t believe it’ll be any distraction. We’re going to go out there and try to win this game, so it’s not going to affect any game management. And it’s not going to affect what these guys do. We know what we need to do.”
The Angels will approach the finale of a four-game series — and the potential finale of their season — with a very shorthanded pitching staff.
Garrett Richards will be starting on three days’ rest for the first time in his career, and the Angels’ bullpen has had to account for 27 1/3 innings over the last eight games.
Interim closer Joe Smith will be available for a full inning, Scioscia said, but few others will be. Trevor Gott, a rookie who has already made 73 appearances in the Majors and Minors, may only be available for a batter or two. Lefty Jose Alvarez, who has appeared in five of the last six games, may not be available at all. Fernando Salas, who has appeared in three of the last four, may not be able to go a full inning, either. Closer Huston Street, of course, has a left groin injury and is doubtful to even be available for the American League Division Series, Scioscia said.
Scioscia would ideally go with Nick Tropeano if his team has to play a tiebreaker on Monday, but that may evolve into a bullpen game. Tropeano will have his spikes on and will be available out of the bullpen, if needed on Sunday. Today would’ve been his turn to start, so he’s available to go as long as needed.
“I’ll be ready,” Tropeano said pregame.
“The only thing that’s going to stop us from doing it is not putting guys at risk,” Scioscia said. “But as far as what we do to try to win a ballgame, you’re going to try to use everything you have just because of the nature of where we are.”
If the Angels advance to play the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Tuesday — which, for them, would only be possible from Yankee Stadium — Andrew Heaney will get the ball.
The rookie left-hander will not be available before then.
“I don’t’ think it’s right,” Scioscia said, “for that kid or for us.”