Mike Scioscia’s frustration boils over after Angels’ fall in extra innings for fifth straight loss

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Mike Scioscia was so frustrated following the Angels’ extra-inning loss to the Rays last night that Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times describes how “his voice filled with ire … the longer the postgame interview went on.”

In losing for the fifth straight game and falling to 30-34 overall the Angels struck out 11 times and went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, which caused Scioscia to remark that having today off wasn’t even a positive thing:

I wish we were playing tomorrow, because we need to put our nose to the grindstone and start getting after it. We need to get those tough at-bats, to put the barrel on the ball and play better baseball. This has gone far too long. We need to right this ship. It doesn’t matter if we have Salt Lake coming in, Altoona coming in, or Orem coming in; we’ve got to play better baseball, that’s the bottom line. These guys are better players than this.

Scioscia’s criticism was aimed mostly at the offense, and rightfully so, as the Angels’ pitching staff ranks third in ERA while the lineup ranks 11th in runs. Howie Kendick is the only hitter on the team with an OPS above .800 and the Angels uncharacteristically lead the league in strikeouts after ranking no higher than eighth in any of the previous 10 seasons. And right now they’re on pace for back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1993 and 1994.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.