I'm preparing for the hate as I write this, but I think it needs to be said: everyone is worrying themselves just a bit too much. I'm with everyone else on the Fire Scioscia bandwagon, but I think the talk of the Angels death is just a bit dramatic at this point. Comparisons to last April seem apt, but in my view the Angels at this point are suffering much more from bad luck than last year's team was. Want proof?
The offense is currently slugging .194 with RISP. As bad as the pitching has been, the offense has been anything but potent, and it's not for lack of baserunners or home runs. We aren't driving guys in. You can say that the team chokes under pressure all you want, but a .194 slugging is entirely untenable. What's more, the idea of 'clutch hitting' is basically a myth. Players tend to bat as well with RISP as they do in other situations. This is the fundamental problem with our offense at this point, and it is nearly impossible that it will hold up in any way, shape, or form.
The starting pitcher's ERA is something absolutely absurd-- somewhere around 6 after tonight's game. That is not going to stay up. Yeah, Joe Blanton's not a great pitcher. He's also not going to carry an 8 ERA through the year. His ERA will come down to something resembling league average. Jason Vargas? He's not even a bad pitcher, and people are writing him off after three starts. There's no reason to think he won't rebound into a league average pitcher. Tommy Hanson has his velocity back to something close to what it used to be, and he is working off less preparation than most of the pitchers. He's also only had two starts. The talk of his being a huge flop is entirely unfair and unfounded.
The bullpen hasn't been fantastic, but it also hasn't been terrible. Ernesto Frieri and Sean Burnett have both been excellent, Garrett Richards has looked promising, and Kevin Jepsen has had one bad outing (that I would put squarely on Scioscia's shoulders). Jerome Williams is Jerome Williams; we don't need a mop up guy to be amazing. Scott Downs isn't the same pitcher he was, but he should be serviceable at the least. Lowe has been bad recently, but he had a great first outing and his stuff makes me think the could rebound. Even if he can't, the Angels have several shut down guys and a few more serviceable ones. With Ryan Madson coming back soon, the situation should improve and turn from terrible to neutral.
Clearly, this team has been frustrating to watch so far. They've been awful in every sense of the word. With 2012 fresh in our minds, I know that panic seems like a natural reaction. However, I'm urging everyone to keep calm; not because of Roger Lodge's 'optimism' schtick but because this team isn't this bad. In fact, this team isn't bad at all; it's pretty good. This team was picked by most to do well this season; and for good reason. The team hasn't changed. And that's a reason not to give up hope quite yet.