ANAHEIM, Calif. – Justin Speier dashed through the Los Angeles Angels’ clubhouse Thursday, wearing a wetsuit and toting a boogie board, with his flippers slapping against the carpet.
“Coach, is there practice today?” he yelled to manager Mike Scioscia, who couldn’t help but smile and wave his arm dismissively in the pitcher’s direction.
The rest of the Angels laughed out loud, with Speier’s monkeying around clearly having the desired effect of loosening up a team coming off its record-tying 10th straight playoff loss to the Boston Red Sox.
“He probably did just come from the beach, knowing Justin,” Scioscia said, pausing a beat before tossing out his own one-liner. “I expressed to him the next pair of flippers he wears will be cement flippers.”
With their A.L. division series taking a break Thursday, the Angels had plenty of time to contemplate – or forget – their 4-1 loss in Wednesday’s opener against the same team that swept them in their last two playoff series.
“A lot of guys have to have amnesia and let that go,” said Torii Hunter.
Hunter compared the series to a football game.
“We’ve been hit and guys are ready to go,” he said. “We have to be more patient and make the right decisions.”
Especially tonight against Boston ace Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3), who was 9-0 on the road in the regular season. The right-hander with the unusual delivery is known for stretching the strike zone with his pitches.
Matsuzaka lost 7-5 on July 28 in his only appearance against Los Angeles this season,.