Desperate for something or someone to ignite their dormant offense, the Los Angeles Angels turned to seldom-used Casey Kotchman as their designated hitter against White Sox starter Freddy Garcia for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Kotchman, a left-handed hitter, entered Saturday night with only two at-bats in the postseason, going 0 for 2 as a pinch hitter. He went 2 for 4 with a double and drove in a run against the White Sox.
Garcia fares somewhat worse against left-handed hitters, who batted .268 with 17 homers against him this season, as opposed to .249 and nine homers by right-handed batters in a similar number of at-bats.
"Any contributions we can get right now are obviously needed," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're just trying to . . . stack some left-handed bats and see if we can get after Garcia a little bit."
Entering Saturday's game, the Angels were batting only .174 in the ALCS and only .239 during the postseason as a whole. Their designated hitters were faring even worse, going 0 for 10 in the ALCS and batting .207 overall in the postseason.
Particularly alarming has been the disappearance of right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, who has yet to produce an extra-base hit in the postseason and has driven in only one run.
"You can line them up a lot of different ways right now," Scioscia said, "[but] it's not going to have any impact until we can get . . . some of the guys in the middle of the lineup swinging as best they can."
'We're Not That Smart'
Unlike the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the White Sox' roster is lean when it comes to players with postseason experience. Asked why the lack of experience didn't seem to hinder his team, Chicago Manager Ozzie Guillen said, in typical fashion, "because we're not that smart."
"You look in the clubhouse right now and everybody is watching football and a lot of people are having fun, some guys are playing cards," he said. "We don't think about that; as soon as the national anthem is over we're ready to go. I think we have confidence. We played 162 games with the same attitude, whatever happened the day before we don't care about the next day. It's over. I think these guys treat the playoff games the same way." . . .
Guillen laughed about the easy time he has had dealing with his pitchers this postseason. Including Saturday night's game, he has used his bullpen for only one inning in the ALCS, sending Neal Cotts in for the ninth inning of Game 1.
"It's not bad when you have a good pitching staff," he said. "It's when you have a [bad] staff, then it's hard because you will always be wrong whatever decision you make."