After 2002 run, he believes team concept more important
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
Mike Scioscia is undecided about Game 2's catcher: Jose Molina (above) or brother Bengie. (Chris Carlson/AP)
ANAHEIM -- Does playoff experience really matter?
Angels manager Mike Scioscia admits he has had a change of heart on that topic based on what his club accomplished while winning it all in 2002.
"I used to think it was important to know what it was about, as far as responsibility to the media and expectations in a playoff environment," Scioscia said. "But when 2002 came around, it blew that theory right out of the water. Playoff experience is nice, but I think it's overrated. What's more important is how that team is executing at that point in time."
The Angels finished the 2002 regular season with a surge and carried the momentum right into the playoffs. Scioscia is hopeful that will happen with his 2004 club after the Angels recently kicked it into overdrive to fight past Oakland and Texas in the American League West race.
"In 2002, we were playing well at the end and the same goes for this year," Scioscia said. "That's what is important to our club. I don't think anybody on our club that doesn't have playoff experience is going to melt. It's more about the makeup of your club and staying within your game."
Which Molina? Scioscia said prior to Game 1 there's a possibility that he'll go with Jose Molina behind the plate in Game 2 Wednesday night as Bartolo Colon takes the mound. Jose Molina normally catches when Colon pitches, instead of Bengie Molina -- the team's No. 1 catcher and Jose's brother.
"It's definitely something we're going to look at very closely," Scioscia said. "Jose Molina did an incredible job with Bartolo. Bengie has been catching well also, so it gives us some options to look at. We'll decide [Wednesday]."
Praise for Pedro: Although Pedro Martinez struggled a bit for the Red Sox down the stretch, Scioscia expects the Colon-Martinez battle on Wednesday to be a special one.
"I first caught Pedro in 1992 when he was in the minor leagues in Spring Training," said Scioscia, a former big league catcher. "He's a pitcher who has evolved and adjusted, but he still has that good core stuff. When you add experience to that package, it makes him even more effective. This guy is a terrific pitcher and we've seen him step up in situations and get hot. He certainly presents a lot of challenges for you."
Alfredo Amezaga / SS
Weight: 165 lbs
Bats: S / Throws: R
Thinking defense: The Angels went for defense in Game 1 when they started Alfredo Amezaga at second base and Chone Figgins at third with third baseman Dallas McPherson out of the lineup.
Scioscia's reasoning was that Amezaga is considered the Angels' best defensive infielder and it's critical for the Angels to avoid giving the high-powered Red Sox extra outs.
Head to head: The Red Sox won the regular season series from Anaheim, 5-4, with the home team flourishing. Anaheim won four of six at Angel Stadium, but the Red Sox swept the Angels three straight at Fenway Park.
"They beat us up pretty good at their place and we did the same to them at our place," Angels closer Troy Percival said. "You really can't draw a lot from it in terms of what will happen now."
The Red Sox completed their sweep Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 in the midst of a 10-game winning streak.
"They were playing incredible baseball at the time," Scioscia said. "I think we're playing a lot better now than we were then."
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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