Results tagged ‘ Mike Scioscia ’
Josh Hamilton made eight outs in five plate appearances on Tuesday, dropping his batting average to .213, and was showered by boos from his home fans. They were loud, too. Louder than when he was a visiting Rangers player, and louder than at any point during this nightmarish season – and he’s been booed a lot this season.
Asked about it Wednesday, prior to a game in which he was dropped from second to seventh in the batting order, Hamilton said: “I can’t blame them.”
But there’s a segment of the Angels fan base that doesn’t believe Hamilton cares enough – and that’s where he disagrees.
“I’m not going to break my bat or do stuff like that on the field because you have kids watching,” Hamilton said. “If they don’t think I care, then they’re mistaken, because it hurts me more than it hurts anybody not to be performing. I’ve done it for years against the Angels, and now I’m a part of the Angels and I want to do it for the Angels. I’m just going to keep doing the best I can.”
Hamilton’s best is nowhere near good enough yet. Mike Scioscia has given him four days off to clear his head. He’s moved him from fourth to fifth, from fifth to second and now, from second to seventh – a spot he hasn’t hit in since 2009. And Hamilton himself has tried reverting to the past, trying to summon the simpler approach from 2008-09 and the pregame routine from 2010.
Nothing has worked. Through his first 69 games with the Angels, Hamilton holds a .213/.269/.388 slash line, with 10 homers, 24 RBIs and a .657 OPS that ranks 113th among Major League qualifiers.
He’s been positive all year, picking out small victories within each plate appearance that he hopes can help him take steps forward.
But the longer the season goes on, the harder that becomes.
“When you’re struggling and you stay in that spot when you feel like you’ve done about anything you can to get out of it, the confidence starts to waver some,” Hamilton said. “Guys have been great, encouraging, things like that – coaching staff, everybody.”
Scioscia’s latest lineup change put Peter Bourjos back in the leadoff spot and dropped Mike Trout to second, where the Angels’ skipper prefers he hit. It came on a day an opposing lefty – Joe Saunders – was on the mound, but it sounds like Hamilton will also bat seventh against righties.
“I think it’s going to be good for him to not worry about hitting in the middle of the lineup – just go down there and play baseball for a little bit and find his stroke,” Scioscia said.
“There’s no doubt that there are confidence issues with every player, there’s always frustration that every player feels, and it’s very clear right now, that as this season has progressed, and it’s taken more and more time for Josh to get comfortable in the batter’s box, that we need to do something to alleviate a little pressure.”
Hamilton provided some positive signs on Monday, going 2-for-5 with a long two-run homer. But there have been a lot of those days, almost all of which have been followed up by another bad performance. The latest was three groundball double plays and two strikeouts.
One step forward, two steps back.
“That’s the baffling part,” Hamilton said. “In the past, it’s either clicked at some point or you get a couple bloop hits and you kind of start moving in that direction. It goes back to the biggest thing, which is just being confident. And it’s tough to do when you’re not being successful.”
Josh Hamilton, sporting a .657 OPS and coming off making eight outs in five plate appearances, was dropped from second to seventh in Mike Scioscia‘s batting order for Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. That puts Peter Bourjos back at the leadoff spot and moves Mike Trout back down to second.
The Mariners are trotting out a lefty in former Angels pitcher Joe Saunders, and Hamilton has a .149/.175/.189 slash line against lefties this year (.237/.304/.469 against righties). Is it a one-time thing, because of the lefty-lefty matchup? Or is this Hamilton’s new, semi-permanent home? We’ll find out later, when Scioscia meets with the media.
In hopes of jump-starting Hamilton, Scioscia batted him second, between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, prior to the split doubleheader at Fenway Park on June 8. In nine games there, he batted .190/.227/.429. He went 2-for-5 with a homer on Monday, then went 0-for-5 and grounded into three double plays on Tuesday. In 77 career plate appearances batting seventh — no starts there since ’09 — he’s batting .333/.390/.478.
Through his first 69 games with the Angels, Hamilton is batting .213/.269/.388, with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. His OPS ranks 131st among qualifiers.
Here’s the full Angels lineup …
Albert Pujols, DH
Mark Trumbo, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Erick Aybar, SS
SP: C.J. Wilson (5-5, 3.90 ERA)
Yes, the Angels — 10 games below .500, 12 games back in the AL West, 9 1/2 games back of the final Wild Card spot — haven’t had much luck with injuries this season, particularly with their highest-paid player (Albert Pujols) and the two guys they were counting on to turn their bullpen around (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett). You know who has been hit with more injuries? The Yankees team they’ll now face. I mean, just look at their lineup. And yet, they kept on rolling, while the Angels are in need of an amazing run to get back in the race.
“A lot of the things we see are very tangible, a lot of the things we see are reversible,” Mike Scioscia continues to say. “That has to be our goal, to get these guys out there playing consistent baseball and bringing the talent on the field, because we have the potential to have a terrific team.”
SP: LH Andy Pettitte (5-3, 3.82 ERA)
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (4-5, 4.05 ERA)
- Starting rotation-wise, we know Tommy Hanson and Jered Weaver are starting the other two games in this series, respectively. And now, we know Jason Vargas will start Monday, with the order resetting again on Wednesday and Thursday. Who’s starting on Tuesday? That’s a decision that will perceivably come down to Joe Blanton and Jerome Williams, and Scioscia didn’t reveal anything on Friday. “Let’s get through this weekend,” he said. You have to figure, that if Blanton were starting Tuesday, he’d simply be listed as the starter by the team. The fact he isn’t makes me believe it’s going to be Williams, as long as he isn’t needed out of the bullpen in some crazy long game (like the 18-inning game the Yankees played against the A’s last night). Just an educated guess, though.
- Robert Coello, placed on the disabled list with what the team called right shoulder inflammation, will be shut down from throwing for a minimum of four weeks. Coello’s elbow is also hurting.
- The Angels will honor Mariano Rivera on Saturday.
- The Angels have signed 34 of their 39 Draft picks. Among those remaining are their first selection, lefty Hunter Green, who was taken in the second round.
- Sicoscia, on his biggest takeaway from his time with Wells: “He worked very hard at the game. You could tell that his non-performance is something he did not take in stride. I mean he felt it. And whether he had a rough day the night before, he came out with a positive frame of mind and said, ‘I’m going to help us win today.’ Maybe fans don’t see that side of him, but he didn’t take it easy when he was struggling, and he knows that he’s a better player than what he showed when he played with us.”
- Wells, by the way, has cooled off considerably since his hot start. Over his last 40 games, he has a .182/.209/.284 slash line. He comes in batting .229/.274/.386, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs.
What is up with the Angels’ fielding? Seems every time I check, they end up with 2-3 errors a game. — @davidusc708
Just one of the many mysteries of this trying 2013 season. Heading into Monday, the Angels had the most errors in the American League (46) and ranked third in the Majors (the Dodgers and Nationals each have 47, putting the combined payrolls of the top three error teams at about $465 million). Howie Kendrick leads the Angels with eight; Erick Aybar has six; Hank Conger and Josh Hamilton (after misplaying a single on Monday) each have four; Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and Brendan Harris have three apiece. Then there’s Chris Iannetta, who — with little help from a slow-to-the-plate pitching staff — has thrown out only 5 of 51 would-be base-stealers. His 46 steals allowed already match last year’s total.
Most troubling lately, though, is Alberto Callaspo, a historically good defensive third baseman who came into Monday with six errors in his last eight games.
“This guy’s played great defense for his 10 years in the league,” said Mike Scioscia, who added that his third baseman is “fully healthy.” “He’s still moving well, his hands are fine. I think you have to look at just the way he’s played his whole career. He’s an outstanding defensive third baseman. It’s just a little glitch right now.”
Intermittent showers continue here in Baltimore. There’s been a flew let-ups, including at the time of this publishing (5:41 p.m. ET), but the tarp was still on the field and dark clouds are hovering over the stadium. If they bag it, look for a split doubleheader tomorrow. Thing is, weather doesn’t look great then, either. …
SP: RH Jered Weaver (1-1, 3.13 ERA)
SP: RH Freddy Garcia (2-3, 4.70 ERA)
- Sean Burnett is not with the team today. He’s in Birmingham, Ala., seeing Dr. James Andrews because his left elbow has yet to heal. When Burnett originally went on the disabled list on May 28, he was expected back in two weeks. Tomorrow, it’ll be two weeks. And he’s made no real progress. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wouldn’t speculate on the chances that Burnett will go under the knife again. He’ll wait for the results.
- Trout estimates to having about 200 friends and family members today in Baltimore, which is about a two-hour drive from his roots in Millville, N.J. This, of course, is the scene of his memorable catch on a would-be J.J. Hardy homer. A picture of it hangs in the basement of his parents’ house.
- Oh, in case you missed it, Trout, as expected, is back in left field now that Bourjos is back. Scioscia was asked specifically what makes Bourjos a better defensive center fielder than Trout (he is, ever-so-slightly). His response: “I think it’s the whole picture. I think you have to look at the whole outfield. Peter gives you a unique dimension in center field and allows you to be stronger on the wings, where they can do more things. We can do things as far as what our spray charts show. Mike does give you that same element in center, but in the big picture, I think it works out better with Peter in center right now and Mike and Josh at his wings. I don’t know if it’s just looking at what Peter does in center, but just the whole defensive outfield.”
- The Angels designated little-used infielder Chris Nelson for assignment in order to make room on the roster for Bourjos.
Mike 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 …
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
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)
Just before Thursday’s off-day, and an ensuing six-game road trip through Boston and Baltimore, the Angels — fresh off being swept in a four-game series by the Astros — will host a two-game series against the Cubs, who are making their second ever visit to Angel Stadium and first since 2004.
About a month ago, I identified this as a crucial 29-game stretch, with only seven games (vs. the Royals) coming against teams that were sub-.500 at the time. The Angels are currently 14-13 in that stretch, which ends once they arrive in Boston. Not bad, but certainly not what they needed after the slow start.
“What we need to do is get into our game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think that our guys, as we were talking a week ago, we had a lot of things moving forward that were important to us, and some of them just evaporated for us. We need to get back in our game, and I think that everybody in the clubhouse is on board with that. We know what we have to do on the field, and we know what we have to execute. We just have to do a little better job of it.”
SP: Jered Weaver (1-1, 3.71 ERA)
- Hamilton — who drew a ninth-inning, pinch-hit walk despite falling behind 0-2 last night — came out for early batting practice on Tuesday. He talked yesterday about getting back to his pregame routine from 2010.
- Asked if starting Pujols at first base today was because he felt good or simply becuase he needs to stay acclimated with the position, Scioscia said: “I think it’s both. We’re using the DH with Albert both for preventative measures, and also if it’s needed where you want to keep him swinging in the batter’s box the way he needs to. There’s also that aspect of when he feels good, you definitely want him playing first base.”
- Garrett Richards‘ left ankle is feeling better, and he’s available tonight.
- Angels pitchers haven’t allowed a walk in consecutive games, marking the first time that’s happened since July 2011. Joe Blanton hasn’t issued a walk in his last three starts.
- Peter Bourjos will DH for Class A Inland Empire tonight and is expected to play center field for them on Wednesday. Scioscia wants him to play in Triple-A before returning to the big leagues.
- Right-hander Cam Bedrosian (1.80 ERA, .193 BAA), outfielder Zach Borenstein (1.085 OPS, .356 BA) and outfielder Randal Grichuck (.980 FLG %, 46 PO) were named Minor League Pitcher, Player and Defender of the Month, respectively.
- Weaver is 8-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last 12 interleague starts.
SP: LH Erik Bedard (0-2, 5.32 ERA)
SP: RH Joe Blanton (1-8, 5.94 ERA)
- Josh Hamilton, in case you hadn’t noticed, has the day off today. He isn’t hurt. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wanted to give him a “a recharge day” (and the fact their facing a lefty made this a good opportunity). Hamilton probably won’t be available to pinch-hit, either. It’s only expected to be for one day. “We need him to get into his game, and I think we’ve been trying to grind it and get him there and it’s just not quite getting far enough where we’d want him to. And so we’re going to take a day, take that half-step back and get him to take two steps forward.”
- Garrett Richards, who left Sunday’s game with a mild left ankle sprain, “feels a little better today,” Scioscia said. They’re not sure if he’ll be available tonight, though.
- Scott Downs will get in a game either today or tomorrow. He hasn’t pitched in a game in eight days, mainly because he’s the only lefty currently in the ‘pen and Scioscia wants to make sure he gets the most out of him.
- Ryan Madson played catch today, but he still has a ways to go before hopping back up on a bullpen. Yep.
- Peter Bourjos will start in center field for Class A Inland Empire on Monday night, as expected.
- A bunch of content on the site already from earlier today, on Trout topping AL outfielders in All-Star votes, Jason Vargas winning AL Pitcher of the Month, a look at the upcoming Draft, and the reason why the Angels haven’t played to their potential.
Have hitters figured out Ernesto Frieri? — @Tyrexsmith
I think we’re past the point of wondering if hitters have “figured out” Frieri. Frieri’s fastball is the kind of pitch that can be dominant if he’s locating it and commanding it well, regardless of how many times you’ve seen it. But it isn’t Mariano Rivera‘s cutter. He’ll hit some rough patches throughout the year, like he did in the second half last season, but still has the stuff to be an effective closer. He hasn’t been lately, giving up six earned runs in his last 5 1/3 innings, but it’s part of the ebbs and flows for a guy who never pitched in a prominent role until arriving here.
“He’s been a little bit erratic his last couple outings, but before then, this guy’s been terrific,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Wednesday’s 4-3 win. “He’s gotten four-out saves for us, he’s done whatever we’ve asked him to do, and he’ll be there for us. Last couple outing’s it’s just he’s got behind a couple and hit some bats.”
* On Wednesday night, Frieri became the first Angels pitcher ever to earn a one-inning save despite giving up two home runs.
With Jered Weaver and Tommy Hanson returning and the pressure perceivably mounting, Joe Blanton bounced back, hurling two straight solid outings — the latest being seven innings of three-run ball in a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night — to keep his spot in the rotation.
Mike Scioscia — who, for the record, never publicly said Blanton’s spot was in jeopardy — confirmed that much after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss. But he also said Jerome Williams will get at least one more start — even though Weaver returns on Wednesday, Hanson has already been activated off the restricted list and, as Scioscia confirmed, every other starter is healthy.
“I think we’re looking at a couple things moving forward,” said Scioscia, who will announce a corresponding move for activating Weaver off the DL prior to Wednesday’s game. “Jerome has the ability to help us, if we need it, out of the bullpen if something were to happen in the next couple days. But we’ll give him the ball again and take a look at things and see how things settle. Whatever role settles for Jerome, it’ll be an important role. Like I said, there’s a lot of things that are still settling right now about where our rotation will be.”
After Weaver and Jason Vargas, who gets the ball on extended rest Thursday, the Angels haven’t announced their scheduled starters. Friday would seem to make the most sense for Hanson to start, six days after throwing 75 pitches in a sim game, but it’s also Williams’ turn in the order. C.J. Wilson, who suffered the loss on Monday, would come up on Saturday and the Angels don’t have an off-day until June 6 (nine days from now).
Williams (2.58 ERA on the year, 3.19 ERA in five starts) could eventually be the victim in an unfortunate numbers crunch, if all remains equal.
Asked if he feels he deserves to stay in the rotation, Williams said: “Yeah, of course. … But all I have to do is play it by ear. Whatever they decide, I have to respect and just go about my business and do my thing.” Asked about any pressure to stay in the rotation heading into Tuesday’s start, Blanton (1-8, 5.94 ERA) pointed to his track record in saying he doesn’t believe he has anything to prove. Asked a similar question postgame, the 32-year-old right-hander chose not to comment.
But his game did the talking.
“Joe’s hopefully turned a corner on his rough start,” Scioscia said. “He’s pitched strong baseball for us his last couple outing. He’s made some adjustments and we’re going to keep him in his role.”