Mathis struggling defensively
Angels backstop's critical error leads to Saturday's lone run
LOS ANGELES -- When asked if it's fair to say that he's had problems throwing the ball to second base the past few weeks, Angels catcher Jeff Mathis said "absolutely."Mathis made a critical throwing error on Saturday that led to the Dodgers' only run in the Angels' 1-0 loss in which they didn't allow a hit.
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp stole second base and Mathis' throw sailed into center field, allowing Kemp to advance to third and score on Blake DeWitt's sacrifice fly."I just made a bad throw," said Mathis, who has made a team-high nine errors this season. "There's no other way I can put it." Mathis' error was his sixth throwing error in the past 13 games and it's something that needs to be fixed, according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia. But fixing a catcher's arm slot is not a one-step process because so much leads up to the throw. "I don't think there's one thing with every catcher whether it be his feet or his arm slot," Scioscia said. "If his feet are slow and his transfer is slow it's going to affect his arm slot. There are things that lead up to if you rewind the catcher you can unfold where the breakdown is and where he was out of sync." Scioscia said Mathis' throwing problems aren't coming from his footwork, but rather from transferring the ball from his catcher's mitt to his throwing hand. "With Jeff, it's been his transfer coming late, which means his arm is not going to be in the slot when you're loaded," Scioscia said. "It means one of two things when he's going to rush his arm to get into slot. He's got a chance to launch it or a lawn dart into the ground if he tries to rush." Mathis was pinch-hit for in the seventh inning and Mike Napoli took over at catcher for the next two innings and also got the start on Sunday. The Angels plan to work with Mathis this week when the team returns to Angel Stadium for a six-game homestand. "It's not a tough fix, but we're going to work on it this week," Scioscia said.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.