Sports

Angels look to go to next level

Mike Scioscia stalked the clubhouse with a soaked T-shirt and a bottle of champagne, looking for somebody to hug. Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno was an easy target.

The Angels’ two bosses reveled in another division title and another playoff berth Monday night, celebrating another year of success for a franchise with regular postseason reservations — and a few reservations about how they’ll perform in October.

“It never gets tired, and it never gets old,” said Scioscia, whose Angels are back in the playoffs for the sixth time in eight years after Monday night’s 11-0 win over Texas.

The celebration was tinged with the bittersweet memory of Nick Adenhart, the young pitcher killed in a car accident in April. The raucous party also masked a discomfiting on-field fact: Although the Angels have become postseason stalwarts in Scioscia’s decade running their dugout, winning five of the last six AL West titles, they’ve had precious little success once they reach the playoffs ever since their only championship.

Los Angeles has won just one playoff series since winning Game 7 of the 2002 World Series.

The Boston Red Sox have knocked the Angels out of the first round in each of the past two years, and Los Angeles has won just one game in the clubs’ three postseason series over the past five years.

So guess who is almost certain to be the Angels’ opponent again in the division series opening early next week at Angel Stadium? Boston needs just one more win to clinch the AL wild card.

“We overcame a lot of obstacles, a lot more than anybody expected,” outfielder Torii Hunter said. “I definitely feel we haven’t played our best yet, and this year is different. But if you want to put your money on Boston, go ahead, do it. We believe in ourselves.”

The Angels have six regular-season games left to rest up for the playoffs, and Scioscia plans to give time off to all of his regulars before opening the playoffs in a week. Scott Kazmir has already been scratched from his next scheduled start.

Hamilton’s season over

The Texas Rangers shut down outfielder Josh Hamilton for the remainder of the season to rest the pinched nerve in his back.

Hamilton has missed 21 of the Rangers’ past 23 games with a back problem related to injuries from a crash into an outfield fence.

Short hops

Former major leaguer Chuck Knoblauch was charged with assaulting his common-law wife. A judge set Knoblauch’s bond at $10,000 after he appeared in court. According to a criminal complaint, Knoblauch’s wife told police he hit her in the face and then choked her at their Houston home on Friday. ... The agent for Dominican shortstop Miguel Sano says the Minnesota Twins have agreed to sign his client for a bonus of $3.15 million. ... Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett is ready to pitch again, a day after getting scratched from a start because of back spasms.

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