The last thing a forlorn Kolten Wong wanted to do after getting picked off to end St. Louis’ Game 4 loss on Sunday was talk to reporters in front of his locker, but he stood up to the mics and answered questions anyway.
Wong, a rookie second baseman who pinch-ran for the hobbled Allen Craig, added that he had no intention of trying to steal with Carlos Beltran up in a two-run game; he was just trying to get his lead for the pitch and hopefully go first to third or first to home on a base hit.
Of course, Wong was only on first base in the first place because Craig literally couldn’t run; his shot to right field with one out in the inning would have been a double for practically any hitter in the league. Something else that could have ruled Wong out; he seemed like a nice choice to hit for Daniel Descalso starting the ninth before Craig came to the plate. Wong had a pinch-hit single and a stolen base in the Game 3 victory, though that was his only hit in six postseason at-bats. He was still a better bet than Descalso, who was 0-for-2 tonight and 3-for-21 for the postseason. Descalso grounded out to start the frame.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.