Scioscia guides the Angels with a steady hand
ESPN The Magazine
Scioscia sets the same environment every day: relaxed, but intense. It starts in spring training, every morning at 9:30. Scioscia assigns tasks and duties for his players to be presented in front of teammates as a part of a team-building exercise. A former pitcher, Chris Bootcheck, is a golfer, so Scioscia had him explain in front of the team how a golf club is built. Scioscia sent pitcher Jarrod Washburn to do a report from a local ostrich festival. The next morning, he arrived in the clubhouse with an ostrich; then-Angels pitcher Ramon Ortiz leaped into his locker and screamed in Spanish, "Get that big chicken out of here!'' "It's all about having fun,'' Torii Hunter said.
Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."
Baseball Tonight Live
"Baseball Tonight" analysts, ESPN.com writers and SweetSpot Network bloggers chatted and gave their in-game opinions throughout the day's games -- all in Baseball Tonight Live.
Touch 'Em All
Who went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Buster Posey, SF||1||CIN||Top 2: 0-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Harang|
|Adam Dunn, CIN||12||WAS||Bot 1: 1-1, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Lincoln|
|Marlon Byrd, CHC||8||MIL||Top 1: 2-2, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Wolf|
|Josh Hamilton, TEX||12||SEA||Bot 2: 2-1, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Snell|
|Carlos Pena, TB||12||TOR||Bot 5: 0-0, 1 Out. None on.||Camp|
Thursday's Best Matchups
Giants at Reds, 12:35 p.m. ET
The rookie phenom -- no, not Stephen Strasburg -- takes the mound for the Reds. Mike Leake is 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 11 starts this year. Over his past three starts, he has allowed two runs, spanning across 20 1/3 innings.
Braves at Diamondbacks, 3:40 p.m. ET
Dontrelle Willis makes his second start since joining the Diamondbacks. His first one went well, with Willis scattering five hits over six shutout innings in a 4-3 win over the Rockies. His opponent, Tommy Hanson, has won each of his past three starts.
Phillies at Marlins, 7:05 p.m. ET
That big Roy Halladay vs. Josh Johnson showdown from Wednesday? Well, rain didn't allow it. So the two aces will try again in Philadelphia. Halladay is 2-0 against the Marlins so far this, with of course a perfect game. Johnson is 0-1 against Philly; he gave up an unearned run -- the game's only run -- opposite Halladay's perfecto.
BASEBALL TONIGHT ON THE AIR
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WEB GEMS LEADERBOARD
WEDNESDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTJustin Masterson, RHP, CLE
Against his old team, Masterson pitched a two-hit, complete-game shutout. After opening the season 0-5, Masterson has won each of his past two outings. Of course, in beating the Red Sox, he certainly had help, considering the Indians put 10 runs on the scoreboard. Masterson took care of his end, striking out six against two walks and those two hits.
WORSTRick Porcello, RHP, Tigers
The Tigers didn't give up just one seven-run inning in a loss against the White Sox. No, they gave up two, with Chicago putting up a touchdown in the fourth and the eighth. Porcello began the Detroit pitching meltdown, giving up eight hits, eight runs and two homers in 3 1/3 innings.
While the game of baseball carries tremendous levels of uncertainty in a variety of areas, at least one constant exists: When a very young player begins to make an impact in the major leagues, everyone takes notice. (See: Strasburg, Stephen.) Perhaps it's due to the idea that, while the game is certainly no stranger to stars, getting such a head start could potentially lead to super-stardom, a legendary career bound for Cooperstown that fathers will tell their sons about years later.Similar sentiments apply to Justin Upton's 2009 campaign and to everything Felix Hernandez has done since entering the league while unable to buy an alcoholic beverage. Well, there is another youngster continuing to produce historical numbers that some forget is still technically not even at his peak age, regardless of how one feels about the subject. That player? Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Cabrera is just 27 years old, but it feels as though he has been in the game for more than a decade. It's easy to forget that the current front-runner for the AL MVP entered the league as a 20-year-old third baseman back in 2003, when he hit .268/.325/.468 with 12 home runs in 346 plate appearances for the world champion Florida Marlins. And though Cabrera's rookie numbers were not eye-popping by any stretch, they were very impressive for a player of his age.