Time: 7:10 Central. Vegas Line: -130 LAA / MIN +110
Weather: Start Temp 70°, Rain Much Later
Opponent's SB Site: Halos Heaven
Mike Scioscia has been the Angels' manager since 2000; this is longer than almost any other head coach in major American professional sports. (The Supreme Old Man, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, picked basketball over his other option, CIA spook.)
Scioscia's been through tragic player death and addiction, he's survived three GMs, two owners, one silly name change, and the usual assortment of clubhouse chemistry issues. (Guess who almost punched Albert Pujols one time? The guy who almost punched Justin Morneau, of course!)
How is Scioscia still going? Well, winning doesn't hurt. Since 2000, the Angels have more playoff appearances (seven) than losing seasons (six), and only once were sub-.500 in two straight years. (Last season, when they finished 80-82.) Plus, if you bring a franchise its first-ever World Series trophy, you build up a lot of goodwill. If Tom Kelly hadn't retired, he'd probably still be Minnesota's manager today.
It could be that Scioscia learned from -- and hired -- the best. He played for most of his career under Tommy Lasorda, and was being groomed to replace him until new Dodgers FO Geniuses decided to piss Scioscia off. Three of Scioscia's coaches from the early 2000s would go on to manage their own teams -- including Joe Maddon, who was in-between spots when Anaheim offered him a job.
It could have something to do with Scioscia's interpersonal style. Writer Richard Justice says:
One of the best parts of every spring is to stand near the Angels clubhouse door and listen to Mike Scioscia hold his morning team meeting. It's impossible to know exactly what Scioscia is saying.
But the reaction from the players tells the story. There's laughter and catcalls and general rowdiness. Scioscia is setting up a schedule for the day and announcing what he hopes to accomplish. But he's also reminding his players that they ought to be having the time of their lives, that there's nothing better than playing baseball for a living. Suddenly, the drudgery of spring training seems a little less like drudgery.
Scioscia has also been known to give players unusual team-bonding assignments, such as interviewing basketball cheerleaders, making catcher's mitts from leather scraps, or packing Toys For Tots. Maddon remembers Scioscia bringing oddities into the clubhouse like "an ostrich, tub full of fish, piano player, disco ball, all kinds of stuff. I would cry sometimes."
Ah, yes, the ostrich story. Everyone who was there tells it. Scioscia showed up with a full-grown ostrich. This completely freaked out future Twins pitcher Ramon Ortiz, who started screaming "el pollo grande!"
AKA, "the giant chicken!" He thought a huge chicken was going to eat him.
Starting for the Angels today is 30-year-old righthander Garrett Richards. Richards throws very hard, with an upper-90s moving fastball and 87-ish slider. Because he throws very hard, he has a tendency to walk hitters, although that can be relative, digits:
Mr. Lynn has improved substantially since his Late Spring Training in April, and those walk numbers are now moving towards his career average of 3.5 per 9 innings. Which is still high, but better. Progress, people, progress!
|LOS ANGELES ANGELS||MINNESOTA TWINS|
|Ian Kinsler - 2B||Brian Dozier - 2B|
|Mike Brook Trout - CF||Eddie Rosario - LF|
|Justin Upton - LF||Eduardo Escobar - SS|
|Albert Pujols - DH||Logan Morrison - 1B|
|Luis Valbuena - 3B||Robbie Grossman - DH|
|Zack Cozart - SS||Max von Kepler - RF|
|Jose Miguel Fernandez - 1B||Miguel Sano - 3B|
|Martin Maldonado - C||Mitch Garver - C|
|Chris Young - RF||Ryan LaMarre - CF|
|Garrett Richards - RHP||Lance Lynn - RHP|
Per BRef, Albert's last name has the "Pronunciation: \POO-holes\"