10/05/2002 2:32 pm ET
MLBeat: Gil starts at second
Scioscia benches Kennedy against lefty Wells
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Angels have shown in this year's
American League Division Series that they're not afraid of
Their manager, Mike Scioscia, has shown that he's not afraid
of any second-guessers.
With the Angels one win away from beating the Yankees and
moving on to the ALCS, Scioscia chose second baseman Benji
Gil, a right-handed hitter, to replace hot-hitting Adam
Kennedy for Saturday's Game 4 against New York southpaw
Kennedy went 3-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and
two RBIs in Friday night's improbable comeback victory. He
also made an acrobatic stop and throwout of Derek Jeter on a
After leading the Angels in batting this year with a .312
average, Kennedy's hitting .571 in the series with four runs
scored and three RBIs.
Gil went 1-for-2 with an RBI in his one start in this series
-- Wednesday night's 8-6 Game 2 win in New York -- but he
gave back a run with a throwing error that led to New York
taking the lead.
Still, Scioscia has started Gil against left-handers for
most of the year and wouldn't back off from his plan
"With the way we've attacked lefties all year and the way
Benji's swinging the bat, he's a guy we want to match up,"
Scioscia said. "We're fortunate enough to have a lot of
options. ... Our guys understand that a lot of our
achievement is about sacrifice."
Gil hit .310 against lefties this season in 87 at-bats, with
all three of his homers and 13 RBIs. Kennedy hit .275 vs.
southpaws in 69 at-bats. He hit three of his seven
regular-season homers off lefties.
Kennedy said he wasn't surprised to see Gil starting because
that's been the case for most of the year, but that he
wasn't happy, either.
"I don't have a choice other than to agree with it," Kennedy
said. "You come in expecting to play, but you're also aware
that it might not happen. Hopefully, I won't have to play.
Hopefully, we'll have a big lead and Benji will stay in for
the full nine."
Kennedy said it's easier to digest Scioscia's decision
because the team is winning and because he gets along well
"Neither of us have a bigger fan on the team than each
other," Kennedy said. "For me, the biggest help in all this
is that I want him to do well, so I can root for him. I know
he feels the same way about me."
One thing both players know is that they'll have to do
better against Wells. Kennedy is 0-for-6 lifetime against
the Yankees' lefty. Gil is 1-for-17.
"See?" Kennedy joked. "He's got a better average than me."
Getting ready?: Plastic and champagne, the two
symbols of prospective partying in lieu of clinching
championships, arrived at Edison Field on Saturday but will
be kept away from the Angels' clubhouse until the hope for a
series win becomes reality.
So far this year, the Angels are 0-3 with the presence of
protective plastic in their locker room. They flamed out
with two losses in Seattle and a defeat in Texas.
Scioscia had the plastic removed from Texas before their
fourth opportunity to clinch, and they lost again. The
Angels finally won their last game in Texas to nail down
their first playoff berth since 1986.
On Saturday, Scioscia said the team will focus on playing
their game and having fun, something they had trouble doing
two weeks ago with that one win hanging over their heads.
"The experience of the last week of the season is something
they can draw off of," Scioscia said. "We're going to use
the same positive frame of mind of achievement that we took
in Texas that day instead of just trying to concentrate on
staying away from mistakes."
Torre applauds Angels fans: Yankee manager Joe Torre,
who was a broadcaster for the Angels in the 1980s, said
before Saturday's game that he never experienced anything
like the Edison Field crowd on hand Friday night.
"Last night, the noise was deafening," Torre said. "I don't
remember it as loud as it was last night. I mean, they were
into the game. I know the rap that the Southern California
fans get in the seventh inning, they're off on the freeway
somewhere. But you didn't see that last night."
Reeling Ramon: Scioscia explained starter Ramon
Ortiz's brutal Game 3 outing -- six runs on six hits and
four walks in 2 2/3 innings -- as a case of trying to do too
much, not nerves.
"I don't think he got flustered out there," Scioscia said.
"He was a little too pumped up. His velocity was great, but
he was trying to generate more velocity than was needed. I
think he was trying to overthrow a little bit. He was trying
to throw the ball 98 mph instead of 93 or 95."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached
at email@example.com. This story was
not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its