Mike Scioscia released his postseason roster on Sunday, giving fans even more to feast on as the playoffs near. The team will consist of 15 position players and 10 pitchers, giving Scioscia some additional late-inning options, but potentially hampering the bullpen.
Primary: Mike Napoli
Reserves (2): Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson
While Napoli is the Angels’ primary catcher, Mathis will begin the series catching Lackey – much to the Sox’ benefit. Mathis is a very poor hitter (.211/.288/.308), so his free at-bats will kill any rallies when he limps to the plate. Wilson, the team’s #3 catcher, will provide depth and late-inning roster flexibility.
Primary: 1B Kendry Morales, 2B Howie Kendrick, 3B Chone Figgins, SS Erick Aybar
Reserves (2): 2B/SS Maicer Izturis, 1B/3B, OF Robb Quinlan
This talented infield corp gets deeper with its contributions from the bench. Also mentioned in the link above, Izturis is expected to start against Boston’s righties, with Howie Kendrick hitting the pine. Quinlan provides depth across the diamond, though he isn’t much with the stick (
This answers the Brandon Wood question, as the infielder was again cast aside by an Angels team that refuses to take a chance on the minor league slugger. Who knows? A home run or two at the right time could have been all he needed to revive his career. Though, in the team’s defense, he did flop AGAIN in his latest audition on the big stage (2009: .195/.267/.293 in 46 PA with 19 K and 3BB).
Primary: LF Juan Rivera, CF Torii Hunter, RF Bobby Abreu
Reserves (2): Gary Matthews, Jr., Reggie Willits
A strong outfield propped up by an expensive bench (Matthews, Jr. is owed $23 million between 2010-11), Matthews Jr. brings a fringe bat (.250/.336/.361) and even shakier defense (-24.2 UZR/150) while Willits brings speed to the mix (38 SB, 13 CS in 295 GP).
Primary: Vladimir Guerrero
The aging slugger won’t be gunning down baserunners from the warning track anymore, but he still has good pop in his bat. Not the Vlad of yesteryear, he’s still a quality DH.
Game 1 John Lackey
Game 2 Jered Weaver
Game 3 Scott Kazmir
Game 4 Joe Saunders
There was some speculation that Ervin Santana would seize the fifth slot in the end, but to no avail, as Saunders rounds out a quality rotation that should keep the Sox’ bats in check.
Closer: Brian Fuentes
Kevin Jepsen, Darren Oliver, Matt Palmer, Jason Bulger, Ervin Santana
There is a chance that Bulger may have to sit out the series, as he has recently experienced a bout of “shoulder discomfort”. Should he be left off the roster, either Jose Arredondo, Sean O’Sullivan, or Rich Thompson will fill the void.
Overall, this is an excellent team with good depth and flexibility. The third catcher option and 15 position player setup is intriguing, as it gives the Angels a good number of options in the late innings.
There are trade-offs to this approach, however, as the ten-man bullpen may constrict the pitching staff at times, especially if one of the early games gets out of hand. Still, Scioscia is known for his small-ball tactics so his lean toward additional position players is not surprising.
With yet another tactical move, the plot gets thicker. This should be an excellent matchup so don’t overlook the players on the bottom of this list, as they’ll make their names known by the conclusion of this series.