Questions for Scioscia
The Angels’ season officially expired about 10 days ago, but I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.
Observing some of the crazy things happening with this team at the moment leaves me no choice but to present the following questions to Manager Mike Scisocia:
1. Maicer Izturis batting cleanup? Really? If you’ve followed the Angels for any length of time, you know about Scioscia’s man crush on Izturis. So yes, I understand that priority one when making out the lineup card is finding somewhere for Maicer to play. But this is getting ridiculous. Izturis is about as much of a cleanup hitter as I am a NASA astronaut. Yes, I know Torii Hunter is serving his four-game suspension and that leaves a pizza-sized hole in the middle of the lineup. But come on, Izturis is hitting .247 with 3 homers and a .380 slugging percentage. Scouts and executives from around the league have to be reading the Angels’ box score today and giggling. You could have Mike Napoli and his 18 homers batting fourth, or Juan Rivera, who at least can still hit some even if he can’t field. Anybody but Izturis. It’s embarrassing for a team that is still pretending it’s a contender to bat this little ping hitter fourth. Seriously, it just is.
2. Why is Scot Shields still on the roster? His ERA now is 6.05, and he’s walked almost as many as he has struck out. Every time he walks out there, it’s an adventure. I know, I know, Mike, you’re a loyal guy. But loyalty isn’t a good excuse when somebody is hurting the team. Shields was the best set-up guy in baseball for 10 years. But he’s just a shadow of that reliever now. For those of us who got to know him, it’s painful to watch. Just put him out of his misery and shut him down, at least until next spring. It’s not only the best thing for him, it’s the best thing for the team.
3. What exactly was behind the Albert Callaspo acquisition? I just don’t get it. Not only do you have him for the rest of the season, but it appears he’s your third baseman for a couple more years, based on his contract. He doesn’t hit for power, he doesn’t drive in many runs and so far, on this team, his defense has been erratic. So what’s to like? At his best, he’s just another ping hitter in a lineup full of them. Like I said, I don’t get it.
4. Is it possible the Torii Hunter to right field move was a bit premature? Peter Bourjos is a speedy little guy who certainly can cover great gobs of ground in center field. But shouldn’t you have waited until he proved he could hit before moving Torii and his gold glove over? Couldn’t you have started Bourjos in left and waited to see how he adapted? He was hitting .312 in Triple-A at the time of his call up, but if you followed his season, you know his average was in the .270s or .280s until he had one hot month in July. So maybe it shouldn’t come as any surprise that he’s struggling with an average under .150 at the moment. At his best, this is yet another singles hitter. How many did that make in Sunday’s lineup? Let’s see, there was Erick Aybar, Callaspo, Izturis, Reggie Willits, Jeff Mathis, Howie Kendrick and Bourjos. And people wonder why this team has trouble generating big innings.
5. So tell me, Mike, how are you holding up physically and mentally at this point?. Wait, wait. I think I already know the answer to that one.
– STEVE BISHEFF