Scouting the Angels

Updated: October 5, 2004, 12:11 AM ET
By Buck Martinez | ESPN Insider

Division Series Breakdowns
American League
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Yankees
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Anaheim Angels
    National League
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Houston Astros
  • Atlanta Braves

    Mike Scioscia always plays aggressive baseball. The Angels force the game with good base running, steals and prudent use of the sacrifice bunt. His hitters have good "team" at-bats. This is a very smart club that doesn't make silly mistakes, and they'll take the extra base on base hits, tag and advance on fly ball outs and generally outhustle their opponent. They will also use the squeeze, something of a forgotten weapon.

    The late-season loss of Adam Kennedy and the suspension of Jose Guillen has weakened their team, but I suspect the players will rally behind the manager and overcome both of these situations.

    Scioscia and Buddy Black, the pitching coach, are a very effective combination that handles the staff very well. They have worked all season without a left-hander in the 'pen.

    Position Players

    David Eckstein
    Anaheim Angels
    142 2 35 92 16 .276
    David Eckstein: Great leadoff hitter who handles the bat well. He sets the tone for the offense. Battles at the plate with a "work-the-count" approach. … Better fastball hitter out over the plate. Doesn't strike out much. Good hit-and-run guy. … One of the best bunters in the league. Can sacrifice or bunt for a base hit down either line. … Takes fastball early in the game to set up first-pitch fastballs later on. Stays in the middle of the field. Will expand the zone away, chasing sliders down and off the plate with two strikes. … Must keep him off the base to beat the Angels. He will steal even though he isn't a burner. Runs (2nd and 3rd) early in the count. … Sure-handed SS with limited range who makes all the plays. Positions himself well in the field and is fearless around the bag on DPs. … Big heart. Always thinking about sparking the offense with walk, bunt for base hit, squeeze; whatever it takes to win.
    Buck Martinez re-joined ESPN in 2002, following a one-year stint as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, and currently serves as analyst on ESPN's Wednesday night national telecasts of Major League Baseball.