Scioscia's pregame press conference
Angels manager meets the media before Game 4
Mike, can you describe the behind the lineup changes today?
MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, we're just trying to get a little bit of trying to establish a little bit of continuity if we can, stack some left handed bats and see if we can get after (Freddy) Garcia a little bit. He's going to be tough. Casey Kotchman is a guy that we've inserted at times during the year and has gotten it going for us at times, swung the bat well.
So any contributions we can get right now are obviously needed. But the structure of our line up is not going to have any impact unless we get some guys swinging the bat well. You can line them up a lot of different ways right now, it's not going to have any impact until we can get some production, set the table and get some of the guys in the middle of the line up swinging as best they can, and then you can have a little more influence if it. Tonight we're trying to get a lefty's bat and Casey's bat and see if he can give us a little bit of a lift.
Given that you are willing to make some line up changes and changes are at a premium and what we've seen out of (Steve) Finley in this series and in the last series looks like what he did last season, have you given any consideration to putting (Robb) Quinlan at third for the rest of the series?
SCIOSCIA: I think Q has been attacking left handed pitching very well, and I think that that's the role we're looking at him right now. One thing I think you have to the balance is you don't want to give up too much defensive continuity, and when you're searching for your bats because if we're going to get this thing done, yeah, we have to hit, but the guys that have to hit aren't on our bench. The guys that have to hit are already in our line up. What we have to do is kind of balance and make sure we have that defensive continuity and I feel that Figgy at third and in center is our best defensive look.
That's going to be important to guys out there, keeping Garret (Anderson) in left. There's a lot of things we talked about. Moving Garret to center. Is Quinlan a guy that you can start playing every day at third and move Figgy to center? There's a lot of things you bounce around every day, but when it comes down to it, I think the balance that we have right now in this line up is important, and the guys that we're counting on and for us to get to where we need to be are already in the line up, and that's what we need.
Do you recall a time this season where the heart of your order was struggling like this and how did they get out of that slump?
SCIOSCIA: Most definitely. We had some tough times after the All Star break for a while. There have been some stretches where our offense has really been missing a couple cylinders, and out of the middle. We persevered with pitching and defense, we manufacture as much as we can, but what we manufactured I kind of look at it like, looking for change in your couch, and you take all the padding out and you get all this loose change and it's nice, that's manufacturing runs. But if you want to buy what you need, you need that continuity, you need that line up structure, you need some guys swinging the bat well, and at times we've had seven guys that were a little soft in the line up, and it has happened and has come up to hurt us.
I think we've proved in the playoffs so far, beating the Yankees especially, that we don't have to kill the ball to get to be where we want to be, but we do have to have that continuity and pressure clubs and play our game to support what we need in the good pitching that we're anticipating.
Do you think that you'll have an advantage if you can get into the Sox bullpen? They've hardly been used in this series and relief pitchers always say "We've got to be used regularly, otherwise we're rusty."
SCIOSCIA: Well, I don't think either team wants to get into a bullpen war. That's not the way you want to play it. They haven't gotten into their bullpen because their starting pitching has been so outstanding. They have a fine bullpen and they have great lefty righty balance. I think with Bobby Jenks gives them a power right handed arm that complements what (Damaso) Marte and (Neal) Cotts and (Dustin) Hermanson have done. They have the arms there to shut games down and they've done a terrific job of it.
I think we're not going to we're going to take the game as it comes, both teams understand the importance of early runs. I think when teams have scored early they have had success. We got our three runs early against Contreras in the first game and held on. Those guys pounded the ball early last night, so early runs are important. I don't think either team wants to try to beat the other team's bullpen, and you have to go out and beat the starting pitching. It's going to be important for us to match what they do on the mound, and there's no advantage to getting into any other team's bullpen.
Does the fact that your club and the White Sox are here indicate there's maybe a shift going on in the game back toward the traditional values of pitching, defense, speed, small ball?
SCIOSCIA: I don't think those values have ever left the game. They might have been less prevalent in the time when home runs went crazy in the '90s, and as we talk about our runs as we started to get into the playoffs in 2002, I think there was a lot of attention put on the small ball, the little techniques of hitting, situational hitting.
We didn't reinvent the wheel. We might have kind of gotten in touch with things that our team needed to do that are traditional baseball fundamentals because that's the way we had to play to win. I think the White Sox, along with our club this year, we've had to use traditional baseball fundamentals to get to this level on the offensive side.
I think it's just really a function of what our team needs to do, what their team needs to do and having the ability to do it. We have some guys that can steal bases, they have some guys that can steal bases. We have some guys that understand situational hitting as they do. We have guys that will get the bunts down when we need to. That's the way we have to play. Both teams go first to third aggressively. That's what this ball that defines our club. If we had a line up that had seven guys with the potential to hit 25 to 30 home runs it would be a little bit more sit back and slug baseballs. We don't have that ability. I think it's great. I think it's baseball. I love it.
What's your take on (Tadahito) Iguchi for them? He's not doing the highlight reel stuff but he seems to be in the mix offensively and defensively.
SCIOSCIA: He impressed us from spring training when we didn't know a lot about him, but you could see he had the bat speed, had the ability to be an offensive player, which he had a good offensive year, what he did at second base.
In the field his range is good, his hands are good, he'll turn the double play very well. You know, we've only seen him on a small cross section of baseball, but in our scouting tapes and what he's done, the games we've seen him, he's just what the doctor ordered for that club. He's been terrific.
Could there be a reason beyond the general soreness that every player goes through that's the reason for either Vlad (Guerrero) or Bengie's (Molina) offensive slumps right now?
SCIOSCIA: I don't think there's anything past that. We monitor these guys very closely. There's not a player in either clubhouse that isn't banged up to some extent. Bengie Molina got hit with a Tom Gordon fastball a week or so ago, and his elbow is sore. Is it sore enough that he can't play or is it any different when he got some foul tips off his hand during the year or his wrist and still went out there and was productive? No. It's no different than that.
Sure, there's guys that are bringing some nicked up bodies into the game. It's the same for both clubhouses, but there's nothing out of the ordinary that Vlad is dealing with or Bengie or anything that would keep them out of the line up or impact their production to this extent.
Do you enjoy managing against Guillen, and does he keep it going? I mean, does he make you be more creative on your toes than maybe some other people?
SCIOSCIA: Well, Ozzie is a fun guy, but I like Ozzie. If you're around Ozzie, you're laughing most of the time. That part of it is fun.
On the field there are some definite challenges each team will bring, each manager will bring, each coaching staff will bring as they have input. And Ozzie brings about as much as a manager can. He's not afraid to run into an out, much like our philosophy. He's going to push the envelope and do what needs to be done on the offensive end. I think what so in managing with Ozzie there is a lot of attention to detail you need because he's able to do anything at any time, and he's got a lot of situational hitters that give him a lot of opportunities to do what he likes.
But I think what his strength has really been, I know that (Don) Cooper has been a great influence, the way they've handled that pitching staff has been incredible, and they wouldn't be here right now if they didn't have that continuity and role set up in the bullpen with the starters pitching deeper into games than I believe any staff in our league. That's where I think that Ozzie has had the biggest impact on the White Sox' success to this point.
Just quickly, is the difference right now if your hitters aren't hitting or pitchers are struggling, is the difference that you don't have two months left in the season, that you only maybe have four games to get well?
SCIOSCIA: Well, we hope it's more than four games, but I think you're right about that leash and the ability to carry patience forward gets a little shorter as you start to get into a start to see a finite end to what your opportunities are going to be. But to get to that end of getting productive offense, to getting continuity, that challenge and that grind is the same now as it might have been in the middle of the season. You know, we're not in the middle of the season saying, "Well, let's just ride this out for a month and hopefully we'll click and get going." Every day you come to the park, you're looking, is there something you need to tinker with, is there something in the approach of a player that needs to keep him moving forward? Well, you want it to start now; you don't want to wait two weeks and then try to start. You're always obviously balancing the patience and it's easier during the middle of a season to have patience.
As you look at the options that we have right now, as I said earlier, the guys that we need to carry us offensively and do what they need to do are in the line up. They need to do it. There's no changes that can be made that are going to move us forward, and so along those lines, I think patience would be the course of action with these guys, and hopefully, like I said, it starts to click and it carries forward.
I just know this club, as soft as we've been maybe through the playoffs and maybe a week before the playoffs on the offensive side, it can change in a heartbeat and go the other extreme and carry forward for three or four weeks. You know, we're hoping that that's going to be the case.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.