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October 7, 2002

Mike Scioscia


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mike Scioscia, please.

Q. Can you talk about the offense?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Our guys, in a playoff setting, usually you anticipate having to scrap for runs and manufacture some runs. We did our part in that end of the series. The way these guys were hitting the ball was incredible. I thought they had a good game plan, matched up against some very, very tough pitchers. We hit the ball, you know, I won't say better than we expected, but we hit the ball about as well as we could against the Yankees. Another challenge this series against a very, very good pitching staff and an incredible bullpen.

Q. Do you see a lot of similarities in the Angels and the Twins?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think there's a lot of similarities. I think both clubs play the game at a very high pace. They're very, very aggressive on the bases. There's a lot of -- you're going to see a lot of good left-handed hitters in this series. Twins are loaded with them. We have a great core of left-handed hitters. So, I think, you know, I think the balance on the clubs is good. Their bullpen, their make-up is a little different than our bullpen, but they're both very, very -- they do a great job. Both bullpens are outstanding. So, I think there's a lot of parallels you can draw between the two clubs, and it's gonna be a good series.

Q. What are your thoughts just generally on the joy and unlikelihood of the Angels and Twins meeting in this series?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, we're focused on, you know, our ballclub. You know, our journey. It's gonna take you to, you know, to different challenges against different clubs. You know, we had a challenge to make the playoffs, obviously, during the season; we did that. We had a challenge to beat an incredible ballclub like the Yankees; we did that. Now, as we come out here, facing a club like the Twins, it's another challenge. I think you guys are people in the media, maybe some fans, might think it's unlikely. If you saw the way the two clubs progressed all year, I think you realize, you know, the talent and the quality of both ballclubs. The Twins have certainly shown that. They've been very, very tough against us. They've been tough against, you know, every team in our league. I think we've shown the resiliency and the tenacity to, you know, to get to this level. So, however people might look at it as unlikely, I don't look at it like that. I know the Twins are an outstanding baseball club. I feel that we are too. I think both teams are deserving to be where they are right now.

Q. Can you share with us your rotation? Also, is there anything - this is a stupid question - is there anything you'd do different with your line-up, any changes you anticipate?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Right. Well, I don't know if there's going to be any offensive changes to our line-up. It will be tough to improve on what we -- the guys are swinging the bats well. Hopefully, that will continue. We're going to start with Kevin Appier. Later today, we'll have the rest of the rotation ironed out. There's a couple of things we're looking at. We're going to start with Kevin Appier, we'll move on from there. We'll let you know.

THE MODERATOR: Line-up, or do you want to wait for tomorrow?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Joe Mays is starting. Our line-up tomorrow would be against, typically, against a right-handed pitcher, which would be Eckstein, Erstad, Salmon, Anderson, Glaus, Fullmer, Spiezio, Bengie Molina and Adam Kennedy. Starting pitcher will be Kevin Appier.

Q. Discuss what makes Kevin Appier an effective pitcher for you.

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, he's very talented. Even though he's a pitcher that has gone through some changes like any pitcher would over a, you know, ten-year career or longer than that, ten-plus-year career, where maybe his velocity has lost a tick or two, his experience and his command and his knowledge of how to pitch has taken over to keep him in an elite group. He pitched much better than even what his record indicates it was, for, you know, for us this season. I think that if you see the way Kevin goes about his business and how he adapts out there on the mound, he's a guy that I think has changed his approach to pitching according to what his physical talents have made him do. He's great at it. It's not like he's throwing, you know, real soft, totally soft right now. Any pitcher that pitches ten-plus years, he's going to have a tendency to lose a little velocity and have to make up for it with experience and command and understanding pitching a little more. Kevin's done a great job of that.

Q. The A's got a taste of what 56,000 people sound like in this fun house. What do you do to get your guys ready for it?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: You have to experience it. I think these guys will know what the atmosphere's going to be like. It's going to be incredibly loud. But I think that as you get out there and you become accustomed to it, hopefully it becomes white noise where, you know, you're just out there concentrating, focusing on the game and you can keep yourself, you know, where you need to be. It's very, very difficult on popup communication, with the tough background of this roof. It makes it a challenge on balls that are hit in the air. But, you know, I think our guys are going to stay aggressive offensively. That's going to be important. The atmosphere is obviously going to be alive and I've experienced some of the playing in the Astrodome, in a packed house, when I was a player. I think it's an incredible experience. I think if you can take that energy and emotion of the fans here and make it work for you, I think it's an advantage. I think our guys are going to have to do that, as The Twins are obviously going to feed off that. It will be a great atmosphere. I think it's going to be great.

Q. Torii Hunter said earlier this morning that when they have the big crowds here, obviously playoff-type crowds, there's no way you can communicate with your fellow players on defense. Do you talk about that in your clubhouse? Is there anything you can do so guys are on the same page?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: What you have to do in a situation like this is really understand your range, not only your range, but the guy next to you. And it's gonna be natural territory where you know a ball's hit that Darin's gonna catch or Garret is going to catch and you have to rely on your instincts out there. I think it goes back to baseball, basic premise of defensive baseball, where centerfielder would have priority in the outfield. Any outfielder coming in would have priority on a popup. You know, you're going to have to know your positioning in the infield as to where balls are hit. Obviously, you have the third baseman or first baseman take charge of balls that are hit near the mound. I think there's basic baseball, you know, defensive guidelines that would apply in a situation like this. But it still becomes a challenge. So, you know, you do the best you can. There's probably going to be some guys bumping into each other. We've played here six games this year. It's been loud enough where, you know -- I mean, we played in front of loud enough crowds where you really couldn't hear yourself anyway. Now it's going to be 56,000 people. But when there's 20,000, 30,000 people in this stadium, it takes the verbal communication out of the game. So, we've played in that situation before, and, you know, we've battled through some things. I think you have to just fall back on your instincts as a defensive player and go from there.

Q. Francisco Rodriguez had so little experience coming in. What did you see him in to put him on the playoff roster? Were you surprised by his composure?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, the reports we had were exactly what we're seeing about his composure, so I'm not surprised that his make-up and composure says that he's accomplished whhat he did, you know, so far. When he came up the middle of September, we really just kept an open mind. We didn't totally know what to expect. We knew we'd see him in the spring, we knew he had a great arm. Put him in some situations to test him in September, he responded to every situation, whether it was coming in in the middle of the inning to get a strikeout, starting in the inning, there were situations we tried to challenge him with to see how he was. He responded to every situation. When you get a youngster who comes out and pitches as well as he did against a club like the Yankees, it has to give him a lift in his confidence. As we were formulating the playoff roster, it looked like he could be an important chip we could use out of our pen. It turned out that way during the series.

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