J. Molina catches; Figgins at second, McPherson at third
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
Jose Molina and Bartolo Colon, who work well together, talk during Game 2. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia generally doesn't believe in having a "personal catcher." But based on the way Jose Molina worked with Bartolo Colon down the stretch this season, Scioscia made the decision to pencil Molina into his lineup for Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
"It looks like there is a comfort level that's extraordinary," Scioscia said. "We want to keep that going."
Before making out his lineup, Scioscia considered how much Jose Molina has to done for Colon in terms of helping the right-hander turn his season around. After a slow start, Colon came on strong to finish with 18 wins.
"Jose went a long way toward getting Bartolo back on track," Scioscia said. "It's something we want to take advantage of. We're going to stay with it."
Bengie Molina, the Angels' No. 1 catcher and Jose's brother, came into the ALDS as a career .305 hitter against Boston. Jose Molina was a .207 hitter vs. the Red Sox.
But Scioscia has said that strong starting pitching is crucial against the heavy-hitting Red Sox and the basic plan was to make Colon as comfortable as possible by having Jose Molina behind the plate.
Expanding the zone? Although Vladimir Guerrero didn't come through with the big hit in Game 1, Scioscia wasn't jumping to any quick conclusions regarding whether Guerrero might have been anxious in his first playoff game.
"His hot zone is huge," Scioscia said. "He can handle so many pitches in so many different areas and drive them. That definitely presents challenges to the other club.
"Vlad shows maybe a little more discipline than people give him credit for as far as getting into hitting counts. I don't think yesterday was so much a product of expanding the zone. I think everybody has tried to expand the zone on Vlad and he has had an incredible season. Yesterday, he just missed two balls. Had he squared them up, we could be talking about a different outcome in Game 1. He could just as easily square them up tonight and make a difference."
New-look infield: After starting his best defensive lineup in Game 1 with Chone Figgins at third and Alfredo Amezaga at second, Scioscia shifted gears in Game 2 and went with Dallas McPherson at third and Figgins at second.
"Mac has come up and shown us some things that he can do well," Scioscia said of the rookie power hitter. "He's not going to be scared off. He has a great makeup and he's a dangerous hitter. Hopefully, he'll give us an added bat in the lineup and a little bit different dimension."
John Lackey / P
Weight: 235 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Pitching plans: Scioscia is still leaning toward starting John Lackey in Game 4, assuming there's not a need for Lackey in relief prior to Saturday.
If the Angels should need Lackey before Saturday, Scioscia reiterated he wouldn't be leery of turning to Jarrod Washburn, the Game 1 starter, or bringing back Colon on three days' rest.
No workout: Rather than flying all night after Wednesday's game and working out in Boston on Thursday, the Angels have decided to stay in Southern California until Thursday morning. The team is scheduled to land in Boston around 3:30 p.m. PT.
"I think the last thing these guys need right now is a workout," Scioscia said. "We need the day to catch our breath and get ready for Game 3" on Friday.
Shaking it off: Although the Angels made a couple of mistakes in Game 1, most notably a two-run throwing error by Figgins, the Angels vow that they'll continue to make the aggressive play in this series rather than sitting back on their heels and playing safety-first baseball.
"We're not afraid to go out there and maybe make a mistake," shortstop David Eckstein said. "That's one of the best attributes of this club. We go out there and play the game hard and whatever happens will happen."
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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