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The Latest From AngelsWin.com: Angels Classic Rewind | Dateline: April 10th, 2002


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By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -

APRIL 10, 2002
GAME 8 - MARINERS AT ANGELS

ANAHEIM -- If the Angels wanted to make a statement, theypicked a bad time to come down with a case of laryngitis.

With the defending American League West champion SeattleMariners in town for a four-game series, the Angels figured it would be a goodway to see how they stacked up. Three games into it, they have found they don't.

The Mariners jumped all over former teammate Aaron Sele ontheir way to an 8-1 win Wednesday night before 17,784 at Edison Field. Marinersstarter James Baldwin, who took Sele's spot in the Mariners rotation, gave upone run and five hits in seven innings.

Baldwin didn't give up a hit until Tim Salmon singled withone out in the fifth. Meanwhile, the Mariners pounded Sele for 10 hits in fiveinnings, including home runs by Bret Boone and John Olerud.

In the series, the Angels have made little more than a peepas the Mariners have outscored the Angels, 18-6. As a team, the Angels have hit.172 (16 for 93) in the series.

''We're definitely looking forward to meeting teams in ourdivision early to see how you measure up head to head,'' Angels manager Mike Sciosciasaid before the start of the series. ''That way you see what kinds ofadjustments you need to make.''

The Mariners have beaten the Angels 11 consecutive times atEdison Field and 18 of 22 overall going back to the start of last season.

''They're a good club, and we've got to play better,''Salmon said. ''We're capable of playing much better. But as a whole we're offkilter a little bit, off track.''

Scioscia shook up the lineup in an effort to get someoffense, dropping Salmon to sixth, moving up Garret Anderson to third, TroyGlaus to fourth and Brad Fullmer to fifth. But after David Eckstein was hit bya pitch to lead off the bottom of the first, the next 13 Angels hitters wereretired.

''We're doing as poor a job offensively as I think we'll doat any time this year,'' Scioscia said. ''We're taking better hacks out therebut you don't get anything for trying. We've got to get it done.''

Salmon, who went into the game hitting .125, broke up theno-hitter with a single to center in the fifth and broke up the shutout bidwith an RBI single in the seventh.

''It's something to build on,'' Salmon said. ''I just swung.You don't want to go up there free swinging all the time but you don't want togo up and try to guide the ball, which is what I was doing. Somewhere inbetween is the perfect balance.''

Meanwhile, Sele, who was spurned by the Mariners' frontoffice in the off-season, was burned by his former teammates on Wednesday.

Jeff Cirillo's sacrifice fly in the third inning gave theMariners a 1-0 lead, but they broke open the game in the fourth. Singles byOlerud, Mike Cameron and Desi Relaford, a double by Dan Wilson and sacrificeflies by Mark McLemore and Suzuki resulted in four runs and a 5-0 lead.

Solo homers by Boone and Olerud in the fifth made it 7-0 andspelled the end for Sele. In his two starts, Sele has pitched 10 innings,allowing 11 runs and 18 hits.

''I was throwing my fastball over the middle of the plate,''Sele said. ''I was trying to get the ball down or on either side of the plate,but I couldn't do that. It's mechanical. I have to put my body in the rightposition to be able to repeat quality pitches.

''To throw the ball the way I did, I did not give the team achance after the fourth inning.''

Sele won 32 games in two years for the Mariners, who went tothe playoffs both seasons he was there. And though Sele wanted to return to theMariners, he was told the club planned to spend its money on offense. But hesaid going up against his ex-teammates was not a factor.

''I've gone through the process of facing old teammates,''he said. ''You cross the line and battle and see what happens.''

NOTEBOOK

ANAHEIM -- A struggling Tim Salmon was dropped from third tosixth in the batting order for Wednesday's game against the Mariners, butmanager Mike Scioscia insists it's not a panic move, just a move to help hisright fielder relax.

Salmon had the worst season of his career last year, hittingonly .227, so he was hoping to get off to a fast start this season. He hit .404in spring training with a team-leading four homers and 18 RBIs, but going intoWednesday's game was batting just .125 with nine strikeouts in 24 at-bats.

''We're trying to take the pressure off Timmy,'' Sciosciasaid. ''He wants to succeed so badly he's taken it upon himself to doeverything at the plate.''

Last season Salmon's problems were more physical, as he wascoming off shoulder surgery. This season, his health is good and his swing isfine. His confidence has taken a hit, but Scioscia said dropping him in thebatting order was good for the team.

''We have to balance Tim's confidence with what the needs ofthe club are,'' Scioscia said. ''I think Tim understands the need to be moreproductive than what he did the first seven games.''

Salmon met with Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher inthe video room for about 20 minutes before batting practice.

''The main thing was to let him know we still have a lot ofconfidence in him,'' Hatcher said. ''We have no concerns. Look at A-Rod (AlexRodriguez). That's what we told him. We're not the only offense in baseballthat's having a tough time.''

Salmon said he didn't have a problem with the move.

''He's just trying to shake things up,'' Salmon said. ''I'mfine with that. What can I say? I'm not swinging the bat like I should.

''I wanted to get off to a good start, and the first week itdidn't happen. Now we're playing Seattle and Oakland, maybe I am pressing alittle bit. Whatever the reason, I'm trying to keep it in perspective. It's aweek into the year.''

Salmon also said he needs to stop analyzing himself so much.After all, he isn't the only Angel hitter struggling. Going into Wednesday'sgame Garret Anderson (.222), Darin Erstad (.214), Adam Kennedy (.130), BengieMolina (.238) and Scott Spiezio (.125) were all hitting less than .250.

*

Every team in the league has tried to figure out how topitch to defending A.L. MVP Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners, but Angels pitcherJarrod Washburn has tried to keep it simple.

''My strategy is not to walk him, because he's so good onthe bases,'' Washburn said. ''Other than that, throw strikes and hope he hitsit at somebody. And don't throw it down the middle.''

Washburn's approach has worked -- Suzuki is hitting .222 (2for 9) against Washburn with one walk.

''I don't think there's one way to pitch him,'' Washburnsaid. ''You can't just pitch him inside or just pitch him outside. He's one ofthose guys that makes adjustments as he goes. He learns you the more he facesyou.''

*

Pitching coach Bud Black has left the team to be with hisfamily after the death of his mother, who was living in Palm Springs. Black isexpected to rejoin the team in a few days.

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Remember, it's not how you start... This blurb from April 9th, 2002's game on the struggling Tim Salmon, eventual World Series contributor and hero. Take note re: Josh Hamilton and our other guys with RISP. 

 

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A struggling Tim Salmon was dropped from third to sixth in the batting order for Wednesday's game against the Mariners, but manager Mike Scioscia insists it's not a panic move, just a move to help his right fielder relax.

 

Salmon had the worst season of his career last year, hitting only .227, so he was hoping to get off to a fast start this season. He hit .404 in spring training with a team-leading four homers and 18 RBIs, but going into Wednesday's game was batting just .125 with nine strikeouts in 24 at-bats.

 

''We're trying to take the pressure off Timmy,'' Scioscia said. ''He wants to succeed so badly he's taken it upon himself to do everything at the plate.''

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A struggling Tim Salmon was dropped from third to sixth in the batting order...

 

I'm wondering if a certain hitter presently should be dropped from batting third so he can figure out how to hit again.

 

 

Well, I'm seeing signs of Josh coming out of this, but if he starts flailing at pitches down and away in the zone, you gotta move him down. Move Howie and Trumbo up. 

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