With young legs to exploit, Scioscia runs an old-school National League-style game. No manager in the AL attempted more sacrifice bunts (68), squeeze plays (six), hit-and-run plays (128, the most in either league) or called on more pinch hitters (141) than Scioscia did last year. Only the Mariners (195) attempted more stolen bases than the Angels (137). No team in baseball was tougher to strike out. "Everywhere I went, from Angels fans to die-hard Giants fans, so many people said it was incredible to watch a team play such an unselfish style of baseball," says Scioscia. "It gave me a great feeling to be associated with those guys."
The Angels are a rare defending champion in the era of free agency. Thanks not only to a $20 million payroll increase but also to their ditchdiggers' work ethic, they haven't changed a bit.