The April 12th, 2013 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including Angels hold team meeting, shake up lineup, X-rays negative on Aybar and much more...
The Monkey Says: Damn, I had May 10th n the first team meeting pool. Some are viewing this as a sign of trouble, but frankly, we've seen this so often during Scioscia's tenure that I feel like it is basically standard operating procedure now. Up next in his playbook is someone getting "some mental days off."
The Monkey Says: I can't even begin to tell you how inconsequential this move is in the grand scheme of things. Yet, it prompted multiple regional and national columnists to declare it as a sign of panic.
Pitching, pitching, pitching. You already know the story, and nine games into the season, it’s getting pretty old. The first five innings: great baseball, great pitching. Last four: ahhhh. Vargas couldn’t finish the sixth, and Jepsen almost couldn’t either. Sean Burnett and Jerome Williams also gave up runs in their innings. Bullpen woes continue. Now, it's time to play “Second-Guessing Scioscia.” Jepsen gave up 4 runs to the A’s in the first game of this series. Why is his next appearance a high pressure situation against the SAME TEAM??
Don’t worry, there is no way I’m letting the offense off the hook. I know it’s the ninth game of the season, but when you’re 2-6, there has to be some sense of urgency to get things going. Other than Hambone getting things back on track, this offense was absolutely silent. The big catorce’s first lineup juggle of the season was a fail. Callaspo batted lead-off, going hitless with the rest of the top three. Hambone had 2 of the Halos 5 hits.
Since 2000, Mike Scioscia has been the manager of the Angels. He has compiled a record of 1156-928, good for a 55.4% win rate (an average record of 89-73). In his 14 seasons, the Angels have only had 3 seasons where they finished sub .500. Only one of which has come since 2003.
Under Scioscia's tutelage, Angel fans have been spoiled. Angel fans have become adjusted to the Angels playing October playoff baseball, being one of the elite teams in the American League, and expect a level of excellence most teams can only dream of achieving. Just ask the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. They have had a combined two, yes two, winning seasons during Scioscia's tenure. However, there is now doubt about Sciosia's ability as a manager because the Angels have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons.
Have the last three seasons really been Scioscia's fault? The 2010 Angels never really had a chance. They attempted to replace the departure of the face of the franchise, Vladimir Guerrero, with Hideki Matsui. Outside of a great September he was an absolute bust that doomed the Angels with his inability to hit with runners on base. The 2011 season was the season of the infamous Vernon Wells trade. Who can forget that the Angels shipped out two middle of the order bats in Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to have Wells be the new 4th hitter? Wells is one of the classiest athletes both on and off the field, but it was borderline insanity to expect him to be a competent 4th hitter. It is possible that these two years can be chalked up to terrible executive decisions, as evidenced by Tony Reagins "resigning".
The 2012 season falls squarely Scioscia's shoulders. Owner Arte Moreno and new General Manager Jerry DiPoto refused to accept another mediocre season. Their response? Giving the Angels roster an infusion of talent by signing Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Latroy Hawkins, and Jason Isringhausen. Dipoto attempted to address the bullpen, line-up, and pitching staff all in one offseason. Despite the influx of talent, the Angels only managed 3rd place in the AL West as they played themselves to an 89-63 record. Although the Angels, especially Albert Pujols, got off to an awful start, even a Scioscia apologist cannot overlook Scioscia's ineffective management of the roster. He consistently relied too heavily on ancient veterans Isringhausen, Hawkins, and Scott Downs. This resulted in the Angel's bullpen blowing lead after lead after lead after lead after lead, well you get my point. As a result, Angel fans were left with a disappointing taste in their mouths as the World-Series bound Angels missed the playoffs for the third straight year.no comments
This last series in Texas reminded me of something: Angel fans no longer have anyone to boo! Just look at all the fun those Texas fans had booing Josh Hamilton. Down by five runs? Texas Ranger fan don't care, just boo Josh Hamilton. And let's face it, with the way things are going for the team right now, we really need someone to boo, if only to blow off some steam.
Of course, Halo fans used to have a player to boo pretty much whenever they felt like in the form of Vernon Wells. Before him there Fernando Rodney and before him Scott Kazmir. And, of course, there was always Jeff Mathis. Let's face it, every incarnation of the Angel roster needs to have a goat. Not because we Angels fans are mean-spirited creeps, but rather because, like most fan bases, we have free floating anger that needs to be directed somewhere for the sake of our own mental health. It is essentially just a safety release valve and some poor sucker now needs to fill the role that Vernon vacated when he made his escape to New York.
But who will it be? This current Angels roster is, dare I say, pretty dang likeable. There is no obvious jerk, chump or underperformer on the roster (yet). We could sit back and wait for the a subject of scorn to emerge organically, but who has the patience for that? Let's just get down to it and pick a new public enemy #1 to be the target for all our misplaced angst:
Erick Aybar - Aybar certainly has his fans, but he also has plenty of detractors. It seems like Erick can't go more than a week with committing some sort of mental gaffe in the field, on the bases or at the plate. That certainly is annoying, but annoying enough for the fans to turn on an otherwise pretty solid player, I'm not so sure?
Howie Kendrick - I say Howie, you say GIDP! HOWIE! GIDP! HOWIE! GIDP! Yeah, that's what Howie is known for now, being terribly unclutch and finding ways to hit into double plays even with nobody on base. The real kicker for him though might be that we all had unbridled prospect love for him when he was being touted as a future batting champion and it is now painfully obvious that day will never come. Heck, I'm not even sure he is going to give hit over .300 again.
Sean Burnett - He's new so he has a clean slate, but he also has a crooked hat. We don't think too kindly 'bout crooked hats 'round these parts (spits into a spitoon). Maybe ya best put that hat on straight or get back in yer car and skeedaddle on outta here, boy.no comments
With the Angel season off to an all too familiar and disappointing start, there was little doubt that the finger-pointing would soon follow. What we didn't expect was that the opening salvo in the Blame Game would come from a former Angel via Twitter.
Feel really bad for the old squad, I'll tell ya what, it's not the guys on the field. Better check the big (catorce)— Trevor Bell (@TrevBe22) April 11, 2013
That tweet comes from Trevor Bell, who was released by the Angels last season after receiving spurts of playing time with the franchise from 2009 throyugh 2011. And his declaration that we check "the big (catorce)" is a not very cleverly veiled allusion to Mike Scioscia as catorce, for those of you that don't hable the espanol, is Spanish for the number fourteen, which is, of course Scioscia's number.
The immediate impulse here is to read too much into Bell's tweet. He obviously spent a fair amount of time under Scioscia's tutelage and is undoubtedly friends with many current Angels, especially the younger ones. Perhaps he is just giving us his opinion on Scioscia's managerial skill which has definitely come into question this week. But perhaps he is pulling back the curtain and giving us some real insight to what his former teammates have passed along to him as what they feel like is behind their early struggles.
Or maybe Bell is just a disgruntled former employee who wants to throw some shade on a former boss he didn't like. Let's face it, Bell was with the team for a few years but was used sporadically and sparingly. He might hold a grudge against Scioscia for never giving him a fair shake. It is worth noting that Bell was released at the end of spring by the Tigers, so it would seem that he is currently unemployed, so maybe there is something to the "disgruntled former employee with an ax to grind" angle.
Nonetheless, that this is even out there goes to show the state of the team and Scioscia's job security. If things don't turn around fast, this certainly won't be the last or the most high profile person to point the finger at The Big Catorce.
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The April 11th, 2013 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including losing Weaver could be a blessing, Madson making progress and much more...
The Monkey Says: I like the optimism, but I think it is grasping at straws. There is a notion out there that Weaver is dealing with some sort of issue in his throwing arm and that a month off could help it heal. I suppose that is possible, but he had the whole off-season off and it didn't help his velocity at all.
The Monkey Says: Which surely means that tomorrow we'll hear that he is being shutdown with elbow tightness again.