If it worked for him in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, why would he deviate now? Baseball managers, after all, are creatures of habit. And so, Angels manager Mike Scioscia, wasn’t about to back down from what worked in Sunday night’s/Monday morning’s 5-4 victory over the Red Sox.
Nor was Scioscia about to back down from the pre-game comments he made Sunday when, in response to a question about the Cubs getting eliminated from the National League Division Series, the Angels manager defiantly proclaimed, “We’re not getting eliminated tonight.”
Asked before Game 4 if he was confident enough to make the same statement, Scioscia shot back, “Let me say this, if there are more questions out there about me doing some kind of forensic analysis or pre-mortem, I’m going to have the same response. We’re going to win.”
C’mon, what would you expect him to say?
“Geez, we were really fortunate to finally beat the Red Sox, because we would’ve hated to lose Sunday night and had to answer questions afterward about getting swept in the division series, just like the Cubs.”
Those words would have never come tumbling from the mouth of Mike Scioscia. Not a chance. So you have to give the man his props. He was not about to bite on such a hypothetical question, even as reasonable as it seemed, because he knew his team still hadn’t played its best baseball in the postseason and he knew if it did, it would have a chance of keeping its postseason alive.
Monday brought a new day for the Halos, who snapped an 11-game playoff losing streak to the Sox dating back to the 1986 ALCS.
So, when he was pressed about what his confidence level was headed into Game 4, Scioscia responded with a dare: “Ask me the question.”
Question: “You guys won in extra innings last night. A lot of players talked about that being a momentum builder. How do you see that taking you into this game and how confident are you taking it into a game Game 5?”
Scioscia: “As we talked about a short series, any team that wins, I think put it’s back on the other team. Even though we were down, 2-0, I think last night’s game was indicative of that. We’re going to play a good game. I know that. We’re going to go on the field and play well. We didn’t play a perfect game last night, but we played well enough and did the things we need to do to win, and that’s what we intend to do tonight.”
When he was informed it didn’t exactly sound like he was guaranteeing a victory, Scioscia shot back, defiantly, “Well, ask me to do a forensic analysis, and I’ll guarantee it. I’ll guarantee a victory. I’m not going to sit here and compare.
“The question yesterday was comparing us to what happened to the Cubs. The Cubs were eliminated. We’re not eliminated, that’s my position on that.”
Here’s Scioscia’s lineup for Game 4:
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Garret Anderson, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Torii Hunter, CF
6. Mike Napoli, C
7. Juan Rivera, RF
8. Howie Kendrick, 2B
9. Erick Aybar, SS
SP: John Lackey (0-1, 7.20 ERA)