Looking back at what has been the larger part of the 2010 season, I can't help but wonder if this couldn't have turned out much differently. Something that has always marked the Scioscia era of Angels baseball has been an each game counts mentality. This crucial part of our game was gone this year. We were in a state of waiting for things to fix themselves for the first 2 months of the season- a time where were found ourselves 20-24. Even now Scioscia allows his team to be run by roles rather than matchups.
In Spring training the Angels struggled a bit but we all had hope for a solid season. Reagins told us he believed the team had taken a step forward with the signings of Matsui, Abreu and Piniero. We had confidence that the team was going to be okay. Looking back to 2009 we could see Vlad hadn't played a full season, Lackey was oft injured and not what you would have expected from an "ace," and we all knew it was time for Wood to get his shot at a starting job and, for the most part, we embraced his struggles as part of his development and pulled for him like a brother.
We saw more often than we would have ever imagined possible, the bullpen give up a lead that the starters had worked so hard to protect. Scioscia refused to be governed by matchups and insisted his "roles" in the bullpen were "taking shape." As it became evident Wood was overmatched we clamored for something to be done
Then Wood was sent down with an "injury" and things started to get better. Morales went down and oddly the team pulled together to go on a 15-5 run. They pulled themselves into first place and things were looking good. But then a strange thing happened. Rather than keep going with this winning combination- Napoli taking first base, Frandsen and Izturis covering 3rd, the team brings up lifetime Minor Leaguers like McAnulty, Aldridge and Quinlan. Not surprisingly, the team began to flounder and went on a 7-16 run with Scioscia sitting in the dugout looking confused at how this has happened to the team. If I were a player and I saw McFatty in the lineup and Napoli on the bench I would probably figure 2010 was over too.
So what went wrong?
Theoretically, the Angels should have been just fine. Up to this point, We have gotten the same production out of Matsui that we got from Vlad all of last year. Piniero has been better than Lackey. Even in the Figgins for Wood transfer we haven't done poorly. Figgins is now up to a .241 avg. Frandsen had hit .288 before recently being sent back to AAA in favor of Callaspo. Sure, players can have down years and we've certainly been hit hard by injuries, but I can't help feeling we are where we are in the standings because of mismangement of the team. Maybe we wouldn't be in first, but we could have easily squeezed out 5 or 6 more wins had we been playing Angels baseball.
Don't get me wrong, Scioscia has been one of the best managers in baseball since he came to us. He has done more with less than anyone and has turned this team into a perennial winner. However, this team has much more talent than a 53-53 record would indicate. We have a number of guys who had no business being in a major league uniform who have played for us and our bullpen has been terribly mishandled. Hopefully this season will serve as a wakeup call and is not a sign of any larger problems with the francise. Anyway, these are just my thoughts on what has been a pretty mediocre season.