Iannetta key piece to defending Royals' run game

Scioscia inclined to leave catcher in game rather than use pinch-runner

Iannetta key piece to defending Royals' run game

ANAHEIM -- The Royals' speed doesn't just impact the Angels' pitchers; it affects manager Mike Scioscia's in-game decisions on offense.

Case in point: In the eighth inning of Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday night, Chris Iannetta was on second with one out, representing the potential go-ahead run for Albert Pujols, and Scioscia didn't remove his slow-footed catcher for the faster Collin Cowgill, as he probably would have during the regular season.

  Date Time Matchup/Result Network
Gm 1 Oct. 2   KC 3, LAA 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   KC 4, LAA 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   KC 8, LAA 3 video

The reason, mainly: Scioscia needs Iannetta's arm in the game, to guard against the Royals' assortment of game-changing stolen-base threats. The Angels' backup catcher is Hank Conger, who's more athletic behind the plate, but he doesn't have as strong of a throwing arm.

"With Chris, it's a little more sensitive situation right now with his ability to hopefully contain a running game," Scioscia said. " ... We felt we could hopefully move him around and get a run in, and keep him in the game, especially with the score tied. If you're down a run, you're probably going to look at it a little different."

Against anybody else, though, there's probably no hesitation from Scioscia in either scenario.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.