After only four games of the 2011 season, the Angels are already trying to dig themselves out of a hole. The hole isn’t very deep yet, but if some changes aren’t made soon, the team could find itself in the untenable position of being six to eight games back of the division leader and playing catch-up until the all-star break or beyond.
As pointed out by other posters, things aren’t all bad. In the four games thus far, the offense has been sporadic yet reasonably potent, belting nine home runs and eleven doubles; five of the starters are hitting above .300; and even rookie Mark Trumbo raised his average to .231 after hitting two doubles (not to mention two line-drive outs) on Sunday. Defensively, the team isn’t rock solid (Wells’ glove comes to mind), but with superstar defenders like Peter Bourjos the team’s defense is adequate.
So, with a few tweaks here and there, the Angels could well turn things around, right? But therein lies the rub: we are not talking about a manager who likes to “tweak” anything other than his batting line-up or the positioning of his infielders. We are dealing with Mike “The Intransigent” Scioscia. Intransigence: refusal to moderate a position, especially an extreme position, unwillingness to change one's views.
Listing some of Scioscia’s intransigent positions is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. For starters, how about Scioscia’s insistence in sticking with a catcher (Mathis) who is batting .154 this year, whose BA for the past six seasons is .185 (no, that is not a typo), and who couldn’t throw a runner out at second if they moved the base 20 feet closer to the plate. Or how about selecting as your closer a pitcher (Rodney), who performed poorly last year in that role, who had an ERA of 5.40 in spring training, who’s never shown a propensity for control, and who has already had two shaky appearances (4 walks, two hits including a bases-loaded double, and another ball that would have been a game-winning home run but was just foul). Then there’s Scioscia’s fifth starting pitcher (Kazmir), who lasted only an inning and a third Sunday, whose ERA is 27.0 (no, that is not a typo either) and whose ERA in spring training was an alarming 6.65.
The above examples, and there are many more, are 100% in Mike Scioscia’s domain. He is a good manager with a successful record. But his intransigent mentality for certain players is starting to sully his image and is already adversely affecting the team’s win/loss record.
Update 4/5/11: I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. I was wrong about Sosh, gladly so.