Five Suggestions for Mike Scioscia from a fan.
1. Put Albert Pujols on the 15 day DL starting today. He leads the Majors in double plays, is hitting off one leg now, and the entire league knows it, and is exploiting this situation. Albert has proven he can still hit, he is a trooper, but it's time to tell our hall of fame 1st baseman, if he doesn't heal now, then he might become a DH for the next 8 years.
When Pujols comes back, he bats 4th, and plays DH 5 days a week for the rest of the year, in the hopes there is something to fight for down the stretch, he is able to play and not hobbling around in agony. The idea is to get him back to 90-100%, rather than destroy his body playing at tremendously reduced ability, through pain and injury.
We watched Kobe Bryant destroy his body this year, because his coach was too weak to take him out of the game when Kobe was obviously over playing through injury. If Mike Scioscia is a man, he will tell the Machine to get in the shop and get repaired. If Mike Scioscia is a coward, Scioscia will push the broken machine out there and ask Pujols to try to save Scioscia' job now, on one foot, hobbled.
2. Put Josh Hamilton in the 3 hole and ask him to forget the first 75 games and play as hard as he can every out; he will produce in that role. It would be both a vote of confidence, as well as a challenge, to fill Albert's shoes, to try on the 3 spot in this lineup, and to have an opportunity to say, hey, I guess I am a just a 3 spot hitter. I like the problem of Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols both wanting the 3 spot. Obviously Albert believes he deserves it, but with his lack of mobility, it doesn't make sense for this team to have him hitting there now.
Yesterday I noticed something, after getting a game tying homer the night before batting fourth, Josh Hamilton was dropped to 6th in the lineup the next day. Regardless of the pitching matchup, that was a bad move by Scioscia, and the ball coming off Josh's glove is the living proof. Josh has tremendous talent, but he is like a stallion, he can't even do what is best for himself, there is a wild vulnerability which he is always trying to hide out there. What happens when you give up on Josh and drop him to 7th in the lineup? He bats .300 and is productive, why? Because Josh Hamilton still has Allstar MLB talent and skills, but the only opponent that has ever stopped Josh Hamilton is Josh Hamilton. When Hamilton gets hot, don't hedge your bets Mike.
There is nowhere you can hide a 25 million dollar player, so you might as well support him when he does a great job the night before and say to him, "you did a great job last night, can you give me the same thing tonight from the cleanup spot, I was leaning the other way because of the matchups, but I can see you are on a roll, and baseball is about momentum and trust."
I think if Pujols was on the DL, that Hamilton would Step up for this team.
3. Give Garrett Richards a real shot at the starting rotation, give him a half dozen starts, in rhythm, and support his talent with some meaningful opportunities to move this team forward immediately. We've got to develop the young pitching talent this team does have, and Garrett is not a reliever. At this point in the year, you have to put some faith in your players, if you are a manager and leader. Richards has great stuff and this is the year to put that stuff out there and let this team develop. I think it means more if Scioscia lets Richards pitch now, when it matters and means something, rather than waiting until the team is virtually eliminated and the games become arbitrary.
4. Get Hank Conger into the offense more. With Pujols badly in need of stint on the DL, it is time to get Hank Conger out there into the mix. Both Ianetta and Conger can play DH and Catcher alternating according to situation, while Pujols is healing. Conger has pop, he has energy, bats from the left side, and is ready to produce given more at bats.
5. Trout leading off last season was the best offensive weapon in the league. Why not have Trout lead off and keep that constant pressure on the other teams pitcher and defense from the first pitch. Then bat Kendrick 2nd to crush those fastballs as Trout threatens to steal 2nd AND 3rd on every single pitch. Follow that with Hamilton and Trumbo, 3-4, there to drive them in (While Pujols is on DL). Then Conger and Iannetta to cover the next wave with a bit of pop from both sides of the plate, alternating, and close with Callaspo, Shuck, and Aybar to set the table for Trout on the flip over of the lineup. Call it the tail of the lineup, with that Switch hitting element.
We are not seeing any pressure on the other teams pitcher, with our runners on base lately. It feels like we need to harness the speed of Trout, and get him to 2nd or 3rd base with 1 out for Hamilton and Trumbo to rock some RBI's.
Trout's leading off did more than just generate offense for himself, it created anxiety in the other team pitchers. I can see that Scioscia is trying to get tricky with Trout not stealing, to tweak the shift on Pujols, etc, forget that. Trout needs to steal, period.
Is there a better leadoff hitter in the league right now than Mike Trout? Let's roll the dice on our youth for the last 76 games, get Pujols some rest so he has something left for August and Sept, and get aggressive at the top of the order with our running game.
This recent surge by the Angels has brought some life back into the season. Go Angels.