Desperate times …

Josh HamiltonMike Scioscia — his club 26-34, coming off losing five of six to the Astros and Cubs, and entering a brutal nine-game stretch against the Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees — made some drastic changes to his lineup for Game 1 of Saturday’s split doubleheader. Mike Trout is back at leadoff, Josh Hamilton is batting second for the first time in six years, Howie Kendrick has moved up to fifth and Erick Aybar is at the No. 8 spot.

Here, I’ll simplify it for you: This is all about Hamilton, and trying to find some way to get him going.

Will he get better pitches to hit simply because he’s batting between Trout and Albert Pujols (starting at designated hitter)?

Probably not. But it certainly won’t hurt.

Is this the kind of change that can finally get him going?

Who knows. But, hey, why not?

“It’s something we’ve talked about for the last couple weeks and it’s the lineup we talked about before,” Scioscia said. “Right now, it’d be a good spot for Josh to hit between Mike and Albert, and hopefully get him into a different neighborhood. We need Josh to get it going, and it might be something that can spark him.”

Hamilton heads into Saturday’s split doubleheader with a .216/.278/.383 slash line, with eight homers, 18 RBIs and 62 strikeouts in 59 games. He’s made six previous starts in the No. 2 spot, and all of them came during his rookie year of 2007, when the Reds simply had no idea what they’d get from Hamilton.

The Angels have tried everything with their slumping, $125 million slugger. On April 22, he batted fifth against a lefty. On April 30, he began to hit fifth against everybody. And on three separate occasions — May 4, May 18 and June 3 — he was given a day off to clear his head. Recently, he and hitting coach Jim Eppard talked about going back to his pregame routine of 2010.

Now, he’s batting second.

“If you’re looking at what makes sense on paper, obviously you’d want Josh somewhere in the middle of your lineup, but that’s not what we’re dealing with right now,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully with the emergence of Mark [Trumbo] and the emergence of Howie swinging like they can, we’ll be able to keep the middle of the lineup where we need it, and just give Josh a chance to get into a comfort zone where he is.”

Here are the full lineups for Game 1 …

Angels

Trout, CF
Hamilton, RF
Pujols, DH
Trumbo, 1B
Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Aybar, SS
J.B. Shuck, LF

SP: Tommy Hanson (2-2, 4.19 ERA)

Red Sox (37-24)

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Daniel Nava, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Carp, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Jose Iglesias, 3B

SP: Felix Doubront (4-2, 4.88 ERA)

Alden

2 Comments

Scioscia’s stellar analysis has kept Tommy “Statue of Liberty” Hanson in the rotation to give us 5 innings and 114 pitches while Jerome Williams does “mop up after the rest of the bullpen blows the game” duty. Scioscia: “Stop thinking; it can only hurt the team.”

No one knows why a ball club goes into a death spiral, but this club presently has no leadership. Albert and Josh, great players at one time, are still new to the clubhouse and have not earned a rep or performed well enough to be a leader. The three leaders on the club are: Howie, Trumbo and the Kid. Arti’s lust for fame has taken Sosh’s managing skill and turned him into a shrink. They have to farm and have lost any hope of a staff by their lust for free agents.

Since we cannot get rid of the owner and his well respected Iago, Jerry P. – it is time for Sosh to leave. He has absolutely no idea how to get this team of talent on track. The lack of pitching is not his fault, but the mismanagement of what there is his responsibility and he has messed things up badly.

Plus, it is truly his fault that his team doesn’t score more runs. I blame the pitching on Artie buying players he shouldn’t and giving away draft picks, but Sosh’s time has come to leave. Give him a big party and tell him how great his run was, but do it now.

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