Twins Vs. Angels

Best of seven

Twins players listed first

ALCS Scouting Report

October 08, 2002|By Roch Kubatko

1B: Doug Mientkiewicz vs. Scott Spiezio - Mientkiewicz, with his offensive skills and Gold Glove-caliber defense, brought more name recognition into the season, even if it's almost impossible to spell. But Spiezio has been a critical part of Anaheim's success, and his .400 average and six RBIs in the Division Series again demonstrated his value. He also does a tremendous job at first base, especially digging out throws. Mientkiewicz, who homered twice in the Division Series, holds a minuscule advantage here. Edge: Twins.

2B: Luis Rivas vs. Adam Kennedy - Kennedy, acquired from St. Louis in the Jim Edmonds trade, went 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs in the Division Series. Benji Gil, who was 4-for-5, starts against left-handers. Rivas is a decent enough player but nothing special. He's also playing with a sore hamstring. Edge: Angels.

SS: Cristian Guzman vs. David Eckstein. For someone who snuck onto the scene, Eckstein sure is getting a lot of publicity lately. He deserves it all. Scrappy and an absolute pest to opposing pitchers, he's become the best table setter since Martha Stewart. Guzman has more pop and doesn't throw like a Little Leaguer. Even so ... Edge: Angels.

3B: Corey Koskie vs. Troy Glaus - Koskie batted only .143 with six strikeouts in the Division Series, but also homered and drove in five runs. He's much better than the average indicated. He's also not in Glaus' class. Glaus is the muscle on the Angels, with three homers in the Division Series after matching his career high with 111 RBIs during the regular season. Edge: Angels.

C: A.J. Pierzynski vs. Bengie Molina - Pierzynski led the Twins in hits (seven) and total bases (12) in the Division Series. He also homered and drove in four runs. Molina is another of those faceless players on the roster who isn't worth a rotisserie geek's attention but does a solid job. Edge: Twins.

LF: Jacque Jones vs. Garret Anderson - Though he won't win the MVP award, Anderson will show up on plenty of ballots. He matched his career high with 123 RBIs this season and batted .389 with a homer in the Division Series. Jones hit .300 with 27 homers. Against just about anyone else, he'd get the edge. But not against Anderson. Edge: Angels.

CF: Torii Hunter vs Darin Erstad. How do you separate these two? Hunter and Atlanta's Andruw Jones are the best defensive center fielders in baseball, but Erstad had only one error. Erstad batted .421 in the Division Series, while Hunter hit .300. Hunter had 29 homers and 94 RBIs during the regular season, numbers Erstad can't challenge. Edge: Twins.

RF: Mike Cuddyer vs. Tim Salmon. Salmon is healthy again and contributing, with two homers and a team-leading seven RBIs in the Division Series. Cuddyer batted .385 in the Division Series but still hasn't established himself like Salmon. Go with the better resume. Edge: Angels.

DH: Matt LeCroy/ David Ortiz vs. Shawn Wooten/Brad Fullmer: Both teams go with a platoon here. Ortiz and Fullmer will sit vs. left-handed pitching. LeCroy, mostly unknown outside of Minnesota, batted .444 in the Division Series. Wooten, not exactly a household name beyond Orange County, batted .667 and hit a critical homer in Game 4. Edge: Angels.

Starters: The Twins have four quality starters, though Joe Mays was rocked for six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings in Game 2 of the Division Series. How much confidence can he have right now? Eric Milton, Brad Radke and Rick Reed give the Twins much more depth here than the Angels. They're experienced and they're good. Milton, a Maryland alum, allowed two runs in seven innings in his last start, and Radke held Oakland to one run over 6 2/3 innings in Game 5. None of the matchups seemed to favor the Angels in the Division Series, but Washburn posted a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings and earned the rotation's only victory. He returned on three days' rest to win Game 4, but that makes him unavailable for tonight's start. Appier gave the Angels only five shaky innings against New York, and Ramon Ortiz showed little composure while allowing six runs, walking four, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch in 2 2/3 innings. Lackey, a rookie, tossed three scoreless innings in relief and seems capable of handling the pressure. Edge: Twins.

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