This is not a typical analytical piece like you normally see in this space. No, this is an "open letter" to you, the average Angels fan. I have one very simple, very direct question for you: what exactly is it you want Mike Scioscia to do about this struggling ballclub?
With the losses piling up and the runs, well, not, there is a growing movement from a segment of Angels fans that Mike Scioscia needs to be fired. It is a movement that I cannot get behind. In my view, Scioscia has been too good a manager for this team for too long to dump him like so much flotsam and jetsam because of one bad quarter of a season. At the same time, I am having a harder and harder time defending Scioscia. His lineups have been scattershot. He's shown too much faith in Vernon Wells. His bullpen usage can be headscratching. His reliance on smallball has proven counterproductive. These are all problems, but they are also flaws he has had most of his tenure, only now they seem more visible because the Angels aren't winning in spite of the flaws like they used to.
But, again, that's just my opinion, an opinion that I get the feeling is fading into the minority. So you tell me.
If you want Scioscia fired, then that must mean you think there is something different he can be doing to get better results from this roster. So what should he be doing differently?
What can he do to make Albert Pujols start hitting?
What can he do to get the team to not choke with runners in scoring position?
What can he do to make the bullpen better?
I realize I am stacking the deck a bit with those questions, but I legitimately want to know what solutions people have to offer, because I am coming up empty. I also realize that people are angry, because I'm angry too. We all want to fix this mess as soon as possible and don't care what it takes.
And if your solution is that there is nothing Scioscia can do, then why should he be fired? What is it a new manager will bring to the table that Scioscia can't?
To be honest, I don't think anybody can offer me an answer that will make me change my mind, but with this season circling the drain, I'm willing to entertain just about anything.
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When I saw the headline I was ready to disagree, but upon reading your article I agree almost across the board. I have never been one to ask for Sosh to be replaced, but have become increasingly frustrated with the way he handles some parts of the game.
His handling of the bullpen I have thought was kryptonite since he got here. He would way over use half the guys so they were burnt out and throwing dust by the stretch run and playoffs and the rest would gather dust and not be sharp when they finally got the call. Still others were just consistently run out no matter how badly they looked (Rodney, Takahashi are the two most recent that come to mind). That said I have been giving mike props the past few weeks on another Angels fan site for his evolving use of the pen. I love the way he is using Downs, Frieri, Walden, Carpenter, Pauley and Isringhausen... all have settled into perfect and fluid roles.
Next how can a guy considered to be such a master with catcher and early success with guys like Benjie Molina so consistently turn his back on offense at that position and consistently have the worst hitting catchers in all of baseball? Napoli was never given a chance by Scioscia and is making us pay big time for Mikes lack of respect or opportunity. I like Ianetta, but couldnt figure out why we opened the season with Ianetta and Wilson. If he wanted an all defense no hit catcher, why not keep Mathis as Ianettas back up and dump Wilson? and if you wanted some offense backing up Ianetta, then why not Conger or one of the decent hitting catchers that were on the market this offseason? Conger being hurt when Ianetta went down almost played right into the Scioscia playbook and saved him from the tough decision of what to do with Wilson when Ianetta came back and Conger was tearing the cover off the ball.
And what more can we say about the tragic handling of Trumbo. Were it not for injuries would Trumbo still be a platoon player scrambling for ABs and watching players who cant do anything close to what Trumbo can taking all those ABs from him. I dont dislike Callaspo, Izturis or even Wells... but lets face it, none of them can hold a candle to what you can get out of Trumbo. We even watched time and again Trumbo not even coming off the bench as a pinch hitter on nights he didnt play.
Also why is this team NOT running. Bourjos never runs, Aybar and Trout are running far less than expected. Even in close games we have been watching some of our fastest guys bunted over rather than running. Ive always felt we needed a coach/ consultant to work with our runners and make that a bigger part of the game.
All that said Sosh does more right than wrong. Its just been frustrating watching the same flaws and same lessons not being learned from day after day, season after season. Players like Trumbo seem to learn every day and build off those lessons... and then look back into the dugout and wonder why our manager cant seem to do the same.
Well, it happens today as I said.Pujol had 3 RBI and contributed & supported the pitcher Haren.....The result was a victory 3x0.Haren is a good pitcher but need some support from the regulars in the lineup.I hope Santana & Haren keep winning, and if Pujol keep connecting home-runs everthing will change.Obviously, Pujol can not be the "only" one to support the team, and everyone in the team must cooperate in the hitting.(Aybar, Bourjos, Wilson etc.)
....the Angels' pitchers haven't been supported by the club hitting. The pitchers are not doing as good as usually, but still acceptable.Only 2 starting pitchers are still very weak, Santana (2-6 / 4.22) who unfortunately has allowed too many home-runs (12), but has won the last two games., and Haren (1-5 / 4.37 )Also, he has not been supported very good from the Angels' batting.Out of the 9 relievers , five of them are doing very good ( ERA 0-2.7 ), and the last four have been very lousy ( ERA 4.3 -10.2).....Still, I think the big problem is the fact that Pujol has not contributed at all with the numbers everyone were expecting.By this time we thought he could have about 20 home runs, and he has only 4 lousy home runs.Also, from the regulars Aybar (ss Ave. 228), and Burjos ( cf Ave. 197) are not hitting the ball good enough., and we have 2 guys in the DL : Iannetta ( c - Ave. 197 ), and Wells ( cf 244)......Wilson the substitute catcher can hit the ball.
Garrett, I have some pretty strong opinions about Scioscia, but I've decided to give him until the end of this season to see how he does with this group of talented players.
If Francona gets fired after winning two world series championships and sees his team collapse in one month (September), what will happen to Scioscia if he collapses over the entire 2012 season with the type of money being paid to these players and talent on the team?
One of our guys on our Podcast last weekend blames Scioscia for the hitting woes we've had, not Mickey Hatcher. Give it a listen if you haven't yet. http://angelswinblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/angelswincoms-podcast-2012-episode-one.html
1. Quit micro-managing
2. Play small ball like he did in 2002 when we won the World Series
3. Albert should be/needs to be hitting in the fifth spot
4. Butcher needs to be replaced.
If Scioscia can't do any one of these things, then he needs to be replaced ASAP before the season is a wash. Personally, I'd love to have Terry Francona as our manager. He doesn't misuse the bullpen; plays small ball when appropriate (meaning moving a runner into scoring position with 1 out and only needing a single to bring the runner in); can have an effective, successful, consistent lineup; is a respected manager throughout the entire league; and, most importantly, knows what he's doing!!!
I ould like for him to quit over-managing...an attempted squeeze play in the FIRST INNING with a LEFT-HANDED bat at the plate, ONE OUT, and 4 out of the last 5 batter hammering the pitcher who ends up coming out of the game in the same inning (maybe the second) with a blister on his finger. Why in the world do you start playing little ball in that situation? It seems like Scoscia trying to make his imprint on the game of a "woooo" call at the expense of scoring more runs. They only scored one more run in the remaining 8 innings! Wasted opportunity. Too manyu of these type calls.
Sitting players after a couple of good-hitting games in a row.
Seeing players who couldn't perform with the Angels excel elsewhere. (Rodney)
Seeing players Scoscia wouldn't utilize to there potential excel elsewhere (Napoli). A "personal issue" based on the word of an Angel's scout.
How many times have we been burned on the closer coming into a game with a tie score to give up a run? Many!
Hany more times has the "contact play" from third base to home burned us than be succesful?
Tori calling out the coaching staff was significant IMO. Does Scoscia put his personal loyalties to his coaches above the best interests of the team?
There's nothing he CAN do. He has all the talent that could be assembled but he can't go out and hit the ball for them. Mickey Hatcher has already been scapegoated but that excuse will prove to be a dead end. These guys have to go out and hit it all by their little selves.
JeDi did do something I'd have thought to be almost impossible; he brought in a big bullpen gun in early May. Man, that was some slight of hand! And that big gun seems to have brought renewed vigor to the bullpen. Most nights they look almost professional! But when that little Dutch boy plugs one hole another pops open. As someone wrote the other day regarding Erick Aybar's potential injury, "Also, the infield options in the minor-leagues are scant since the team sent Alexi Amarista to San Diego."
Well, wait a minute, here. It's not like they just gave him away. They got a real, live, diamond in the rough for him who seems to have righted the listing ship. That's some pretty damn good scouting and wheeling and dealing (A little JeDi mind trick doesn't hurt, either, "This isn't the pitcher you need!") and, guess what? It WORKED! You could throw that part in while insinuating somebody was a bumbling idiot for trading off a Smurf, I mean, a potential infield call up in event of injury. But that's how the press works. "If it bleeds, it leads" so focus on the downside and not what went right. Idiots.
The other aspect of the Angels' game that has come around nicely is the fielding. The team is picking up the ball and actually throwing to to someone with a glove. Pretty sweet. And, oh, look! Both of these parts of a winning team have fixed themselves as the players stopped believing all the press hype and realized they have to go out and play the games, Divisional Championships are NOT handed out like Little League participation trophies! And now they have to find some way to stimulate their own hitting genes. Whenever someone gets hot most of the rest of the team seems to sit back and watch and that ain't gonna get it done.
I once heard a wise man once say that a baseball manager is the most over rated position in all sports, and that they can rarely help a team in any great detail, however, if the philosophy over rides the talent, and players aren't allowed to succeed they can hurt even a great player. Unfortunately after 3 pretty lackluste,r uninspired years I think that is where the angels are now. Sometimes you just need a new voice and a new direction.
Pujol is not doing his job, and batting him always in third place is not helping the club at all.May be, if you move him to sixth in the line up....he'll have" less pressure", and he'll be able to deliver more HOME-RUNS.We need from him 35 to 45 home-runs in the whole season .to win some games, .Also, his average is "very poor" (fluctuated between 190 to 210 ), and I think for a guy hitting in the third place is NOT productive.Most of the time when he has men on bases , he doesn't deliver the RBI.......
Nothing. Just keep managing the team in what he believes serves the team's best interests. Eventually all managerial tenures end. And that's usually when the team needs a new voice/direction. Time will tell soon if that time is in 2012 or some future year.
@HaloNation15 Wait, fire Butcher? That needs further explanation. Maybe he hasn't been great, but he definitely hasn't been bad.
@John Brown Good point on the Napoli situation. I was trying to sell the "why is Mathis even here when we have Napoli" kool-aid and what happens, we send him to Toronto who after we do them the HUGE favor of taking ole Verno off their hands, they thank us by sending Naps to Texas. The Scioscia angle on this is his defiance (then & now) to play the better overall player for an allegience that makes no sense and is a detriment to the team. This explains PBJ sitting and Vernon playing. This explains AP STILL hitting in the 3 when if Trumbomb was, we'd probaly have at LEAST 3 more victories and MT would have at LEAST 10 more RBI's.
Butcher has either no clue what he's doing when it comes to starting and middle/late relieve pitching or does but has no backbone when Scioscia makes pitching changes. The problem is that Butcher hasn't been consistent in his success as the pitching coach, regardless of which of the two cases it is. We need a Bud Black-like pitching coach again, which Butcher is not. I never see Butcher and Scioscia converse the way Black and Scioscia did when he was with the organization. Communication between the two is poor because Sciscia micro-manages. This definitely has a reflection upon Scioscia needing to be replaced, but Butcher as well because he hasn't taken our pitchers to the next level in any way. If we have any hope of making a deep run in the playoffs this season, then we're going to need a pitching coach who can take us to the next level because pitching is going to weigh more than hitting in most cases.