Notes: Scioscia has talk with Showalter
Halos skipper won't reveal what was said about plunkings
ARLINGTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia spoke by phone Wednesday with Texas manager Buck Showalter, seeking an explanation for the recent rash of Rangers pitchers throwing at Angels hitters before the teams took the field for the finale of their two-game series at Ameriquest Field.
Whether Scioscia was satisfied by the conversation was unclear.
"I'm not going to comment on what was said," the Angels manager said firmly.
What was apparent was that Scioscia still was displeased with the events of Tuesday night, when Rangers starter Vicente Padilla hit Angels outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera with fastballs, and Guerrero had to duck away from two other pitches near his head.
Scioscia said he had not spoken with anyone from Major League Baseball's disciplinary office Wednesday, but said confidently, "I'm sure suspensions are going to be in order."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he had spoken with the league office and acknowledged that suspensions of Padilla and Showalter were likely.
"I was disappointed with how things unfolded," Daniels said. "We've got a lot on the line. Our guys have put themselves in position to contend, and for something to get in the way of that is disappointing."
This wasn't the first incident of Texas pitchers throwing at Los Angeles hitters this month. On Aug. 6, Texas starter Adam Eaton was ejected from a game in Anaheim for throwing a pitch behind Rivera right after giving up a three-run homer to Garret Anderson. That incident, coupled with Tuesday's, left some Angels position players privately wondering when their pitchers would respond.
"You've got to do things for the respect of your teammates above everything else," said right-hander John Lackey. "Vlad is our best player. He's one of the best players on the planet. We're going to protect him, definitely. We can't afford to lose any offense, especially our biggest part."
But with the American League West race tight, the timing of a response must make sense, too.
"It's hard, because we're trying to chase the team in front of us [Oakland]," Lackey said. "We can't afford to lose any guys [to suspensions], or to lose any games. ... There'll be a time and a place."
Scioscia, however, was adamant that "retaliation with beanballs is not part of our package."
"There are other ways to express things," Scioscia said. "Juan Rivera going hard into second base sends the message that we're not happy with what's been happening. But our resolve is firm that we're not about beanballs."
Angels pitching coach Bud Black agreed, saying, "Our philosophy is not one of retaliation. We don't condone that. On the other hand, our pitchers know we want them to pitch inside aggressively and with conviction. Our [position] players know that as well."
No excuses: Showalter appeared to back off a little from his Tuesday night claim that Padilla was simply trying to work the inner half of the plate against Guerrero, who entered Wednesday with an .818 career slugging percentage against the Rangers.
"Obviously, everybody from the Angels to the Yankees has to pitch inside. That's part of [Padilla's] success," Showalter said. "But, sometimes, you can go over the edge. I'm not making any excuses. If I was Mike or the Angels, I wouldn't be happy either."
Hot, hot Howie: Lost in all the headhunting excitement on Tuesday was the fact that Angels rookie first baseman Howie Kendrick hit safely for the 23rd time in the last 24 games. Kendrick entered Wednesday with a .331 average overall, but was batting .386 since the All-Star break -- tops in the American League.
"Howie has been a big plus for us," Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "Every time he steps in the box, he thinks he has a chance to drive in a run or get a base hit. He's a guy who might win a batting title. For a hitting coach, he's beautiful. His swing is just so simple and all he thinks about is hitting line drives."
Kendrick was 3-for-22 (.136) during his first stint with the Angels before being sent back to Triple-A Salt Lake in May. He was batting .369 at Salt Lake when he was recalled on July 14.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself the first time I came up," Kendrick said. "This time, I decided to just try to have good at-bats, not chase pitches out of the zone, and if I could do that I knew I'd get good results. You can't have a good at-bat every single time, but I know that after one at-bat the game does go on."
Briefly: The Angels entered Wednesday averaging 6.7 runs per game at Ameriquest Field over the past three seasons, more than any other team. ... With Tuesday's success, closer Francisco Rodriguez has converted 16 of his past 17 save chances, and has allowed one earned run in his past 24 outings (24 2/3 innings, 0.36 ERA in that span). ... Rivera entered Wednesday with 39 RBIs since July 4, tied with Cleveland's Travis Hafner for the most in the Majors during that span. Rivera's 14 home runs over the past 38 games trail only the 18 hit by Boston's David Ortiz since July 1.
Up next: The Angels open a 10-game homestand Thursday when right-hander Kelvim Escobar (8-10, 3.89 ERA) faces Seattle lefty Jamie Moyer (6-11, 4.40) in a 7:05 p.m. PT game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.