Saturday, July 2, 2011
Looking for an early run
By Pedro Moura
ANAHEIM -- When the same two pitchers scheduled to start Saturday’s game -- the Angels’ Jered Weaver and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw -- matched up last weekend in Los Angeles, neither team scored a run until the seventh inning.
The Angels will focus on doing something about that tonight, placing extra emphasis on patching together their patented small-ball techniques to produce a run or two against Kershaw.
“I think early runs, when you have a pitching matchup like this, serve a greater purpose,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday. “It’s probably more important. These two guys are tough.”
In a combined 16 innings last time around, Kershaw and Weaver struck out 15 batters, walked just one and allowed 13 hits and three runs. Weaver didn’t get a decision; Kershaw got the win after going the full nine innings when his offense rallied against Angels closer Jordan Walden for two runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Both pitchers, who are considered likely All-Star Game participants, have also been particularly effective at the start of their outings. In his first 15 pitches of each of his starts, Kershaw has given up only 11 hits in 97 at-bats, a .113 average. Weaver has been quite as good, allowing 14 hits in 94 at-bats for a .149 average.
Last Sunday’s Kershaw-Weaver battle at Dodger Stadium was a 3-2 final. The teams have averaged seven total runs in their four matchups this season, meaning another low-scoring affair is likely.
Said Scioscia: “Yeah, if the groupings are right and the opportunities are there, I think both teams are gonna look to try to get an early run.”
* Former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson will throw out the first pitch before Saturday’s game.
Anderson, a three-time All-Star, spent 15 seasons with the Angels from 1994 to 2008 as a vaunted middle-of-the-order bat. He also logged 155 at-bats with the Dodgers last season before officially retiring from baseball in March in a statement released by the Angels.
“He was blessed with a great swing, strong hands, great hand-eye coordination, and the ability to really slow the game down in the batter’s box,” Scioscia said of Anderson, who he coached for nine years. “I think that’s what made him as productive as any hitter there was during his era.”
Scioscia said he felt Anderson should be considered for the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2015.
* Both dugouts were warned in the seventh inning of Friday’s game when Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda hit Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo on the leg with a pitch, the fourth hit batter of the game.
Scioscia was visibly peeved afterward, remarking that Kuroda had typically exhibited great control entering the weekend. It seems retaliation may be in the offing for Saturday’s game.
“I think I said it very clearly,” Scioscia said Saturday when asked about the previous night’s events. “We’re gonna play baseball tonight.”
Here are the lineups for Saturday's 6:05 p.m. game vs. the Dodgers: