10/02/08 6:30 PM ET
Scioscia to make change in right
Morales or Rivera likely to replace Matthews for Game 2
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Jeff Mathis will catch because he normally catches Ervin Santana. The bigger suspense is who will play right field while Vladimir Guerrero is being used at designated hitter.
The Angels, facing Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, look like they are considering either Kendry Morales or Juan Rivera replacing Gary Matthews Jr. in right field. Matthews was 0-for-3 in Game 1 and misplayed a fly ball in right field.
"We're considering a few things," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before Thursday's workout at Angel Stadium. "The core of our lineup will remain the same. We have a lot of confidence in what our guys can do on the offensive side."
Scioscia declined to state what the changes would be other than Mathis will replace Mike Napoli as catcher. There are a few clues.
Morales, a switch-hitter, started at designated hitter against Matsuzaka last October in Game 2 of the ALDS. He also pinch-hit against closer Jonathan Papelbon in Game 1 on Wednesday and lined a hard single to right field.
Morales spent most of the season at Triple A Salt Lake City, where he hit .341 with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs in 78 games and 317 at-bats, including .391 against right-handers. He could give the Angels a little bit of an offensive boost.
Rivera is a right-handed hitter, but he batted .253 against right-handed pitchers this year as opposed to .233 against left-handers. He started in the only game Matsuzaka pitched against the Angels this year.
GAME 2: JUST THE FACTS
|Red Sox starter: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka|
|2008: 18-3, 2.90 ERA|
|2008 on road: 9-0, 2.37 ERA|
|2008 vs. Angels: 0-1, 10.80 ERA|
|Career vs. Angels: 0-1, 10.80 ERA|
|Career postseason: 2-1, 5.03 ERA (four starts)|
|Angels starter: RHP Ervin Santana|
|2008: 16-7, 3.49 ERA|
|2008 at home: 5-5, 4.03 ERA|
|2008 vs. Red Sox: Did not face BOS|
|Career vs. Red Sox: 1-2, 5.73 ERA|
|Career postseason: 1-1, 6.17 ERA (one start, two relief appearances)|
|Red Sox lead series, 1-0. Boston has beaten the Halos 10 consecutive times in the postseason, matching the longest stretch of playoff victories by one team over another.|
|Game 1: Red Sox 4, Angels 1|
|Did You Know? The last time the Angels beat the Red Sox in October was in 1986.|
"I don't think it's going to come down to one player, as far as the whole lineup," Scioscia said. "We need to pressure teams every inning and it's going to have to be a cohesive unit. If one player brings continuity, sure, it can have an impact, but we'll examine some things and there will be some minor adjustments."
Matthews is a switch-hitter but hit .285 against left-handers this season but .223 against right-handers. He is dealing with a painful left knee that could require surgery during the offseason.
"It's not fun," Matthews said. "It's not easy. There are going to be aches and pains, but I definitely thought it would be better than it was. I worked hard last offseason rehabbing it, but it didn't turn out like I wanted. We'll have to do something this offseason."
A fourth option would be Reggie Willits, who could add some speed to the Angels' struggling lineup. But it appears more likely that it will be either Morales or Rivera.
"My feeling is we've got the best manager in baseball," Willits said. "We rely on him to make these decisions. He's been in postseason before and he knows what he's doing."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.