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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Angels try to cut down on strikeouts

By Mark Saxon

One of the most vexing aspect of the Angels' offensive funk for manager Mike Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher has been the high strikeout rates.

Only the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates -- who have to let their pitchers hit -- have struck out more times than the Angels, who have gone down on strikes 234 times. The Angels prefer a motion offense and strikeouts can lead to bad things like strikeout-throwout double plays.

"We've got a lot more strikeouts than I can ever remember," Hatcher said.

Hatcher has worked with many of the Angels' young hitters on widening their stances, choking up and having tougher at-bats when they get to two strikes. Two of the Angels' top four strikeout victims, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo are in their first full seasons.

"Sometimes, the game moves so fast for them, they can't take it into a game," Hatcher said. "It takes time. It takes at-bats. It takes facing that pitcher maybe more than twice to get a feel of how he's doing against you."

In an effort to shake a little offense out of this group -- the Angels have only scored 13 runs in six games against the Boston Red Sox -- Scioscia moved Maicer Izturis to the No. 3 spot in the lineup and slid struggling Vernon Wells all the way to the No. 7 hole for Wednesday's game.

Lineups:

Angels

1. Erick Aybar SS

2. Bobby Abreu DH

3. Izturis 2B

4. Torii Hunter RF

5. Alberto Callaspo 3B

6. Howie Kendrick 1B

7. Vernon Wells LF

8. Hank Conger C

9. Peter Bourjos

Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF

2. Dustin Pedroia 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B

4. Kevin Youkilis 3B

5. David Ortiz DH

6. Jed Lowrie SS

7. Mike Cameron RF

8. Carl Crawford LF

9. Jason Varitek C