Who's to blame when the season really disintegrates?
Instead of Halolinks today you are getting my thorough analysis of Who Goofed I Gotta Know
After 109 games, the Angels are 6 games out of first place and one of many teams on a dogpile for the new and improved Wild Card. At 58-51, to call their obscene payroll's accomplishments on the field underachieving is an understatement. This team is like a hot rod at the old Cars of the Stars museum in Buena Park: It has a few gleaming parts that are endlessly fascinating on their own but the notion of reliably driving this whole collection to accomplish anything is as far fetched as the exotic design that got us all so excited back before Spring Training.
The season's 2/3 mark was after 108 games. Instead of a report card, let's play "Who's To Blame?" Why wait - I don't see the club going 35-18 and you can bet some of the other teams competing for the Wild Card will and you can also subtract six games off that and ask if Texas, in in their remaining 55 games, could easily go 30-25. So I ain't waiting until early October to wig out. Let's calculate exactly who is to blame for this terrible, terrible summer.
Vernon Wells has had 3.5% of the team's plate appearances. His OPS+ is 78
BLAME: SCIOSCIA gets the blame for penciling him into the lineup at all. Perhaps Arte Moreno is culpable for wanting to not release the big payday and get no return, but the pain of the actually quantifiable negative return Wells has delivered could have been mitigated by Mike just benching Wells. Bourjos, Trumbo, Trout and Hunter would have added value to the team totals with the 157 Plate Appearances given to Wells.
Howie Kendrick has 10% of the team's plate appearances. He has hit 80 singles and 23 extra base hits. I am shocked to see he walked 23 times. He is depressingly average and dependably routine on a team that is two dynamic players short of contending.
BLAME: HOWIE KENDRICK. There was no stimulating alternative and I don't know enough about psychology to blame Jerry Dipoto's extenssion and insinuate that Kendrick's contract extension made him kick back on trying to ever hit another line drive double into the gap.
Bobby Wilson has 4% of the team's plate appearances and an OPS+ of 72. This is better than Jeff Mathis but worse than Vernon Wells.
BLAME: SCIOSCIA. The injury to Chris Iannetta mitigates this a little but a combo of Hank Conger and John Hester would have produced more than empty Bobby.
Maicer Izturis has 6% of the team's plate appearances and an OPS+ of 84. Of the 74 times he has gotten on base with a walk or a hit, 61 times were just to first base.
BLAME: DIPOTO. Andrew Romine or Jean Segura could have been supersubbing more often with just as good a glove as the aging Izturis leather. This is a case where "lose it" obviously outweighed "use it" and a move could have been made.
Ervin Santana is a hindsight epic implosion. He has tossed 13% of the Angels innings this season with an ERA+ of 64. Ervin has been worse at pitching than Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos, Booby Wilson and even Bobby Abreu were at hitting this season.
BLAME: DIPOTO.To go back and do it over again, Ervin should have been moved to the bullpen, take it or leave it prima dona. Imagine his slider crisp in the ninth inning of a close game. Scioscia and Mike Butcher don't think this creatively. Bullpen coach Steve Solis went to Cal State L.A. so maybe they should have asked him for help, but the job of being creative with the roster is the general manger's and the only thing that could have been done with Ervin's awfulness this season would have been to limit his exposure or just release him.
Dan Haren was playing the gutty guy pitching through pain routine until even he had to acknowledge that the Angels would have been better off with Vernon Wells pitching some of his early summer starts.
BLAME: DAN HAREN. Imagine June off at the massage parlor and some dominating gigs after. Don't call it a comeback, Dan never really left.
The Bullpen. A mess that the numbers obfuscate.
BLAME: Half on Scioscia, Half on Dipoto. Mike's dartboard choices are dopey and now downs is overused and sore. Gosh, ya think? Meanwhile, Jerry should have acquired more than just the Ernesto Frieri.
Sure, there are lots of little things that stick out... Shouldn't an almost exclusive DH like Kendry just platoon with, say Trumbo? Would Garrett Richards thrive with more outings in Anaheim than Salt Lake? Every reliever has a golden 12 innings and then turns back into a pumpkin, what causes the Cinderella Syndrome in our pen?
There. Read this in October or read it now, this is the draft of an epitaph or a blueprint for what needs to radically change right now.