Josh Hamilton is trying too hard to live up to his new contract, much like Albert Pujols did last season. Athletics 9, Angels 5 - FOX Sports. "Hamilton was greeted in right field by fans holding up ''Hamiltown'' signs for his first game at Angel Stadium since he left the Texas Rangers last winter to sign with their AL West rivals. The $125 million slugger struck out on three pitches with the bases loaded in his first plate appearance and grounded weakly back to the mound with the bases loaded again in the fourth. But Hamilton also made a diving catch in right field in the fifth inning before tying the game with his sacrifice fly in the sixth. Josh Hamilton continues to struggle - ESPN Los Angeles. "Guys making $25 million aren't supposed to be easy outs, but right now Josh Hamilton is a pretty easy out." These are the types of situations where good organizations know how to help a player return to his previous level of performance...something this organization hasn't been able to do.
- It's easy to manage a good team that is playing to their potential. Any move you make works out, the club wins, everyone is happy. The hard part is taking a good team that is playing badly, and bring them back to their potential by making the right moves. Let's look at last night's game:A's rally to defeat Angels - Yahoo! Sports. "Lefty Scott Downs gave up an infield single to Coco Crisp to begin the seventh inning, but he retired the next two hitters. That's when Scioscia made a fateful move, bringing in the right-handed Jepsen to face the right-handed-hitting Yoenis Cespedes. Jepsen walked Cespedes before Melvin sent up Jaso to pinch-hit for Derek Norris. Jaso hit a line drive down the right-field line that grazed the top of the short wall and went into the seats for a three-run homer and 7-5 A's lead." The situation is, man on first (with good speed), and two outs. Downs had thrown 13 pitches when Scioscia decided to replace him with Jepsen in order to get the righty-righty match-up. On Jepsen's second pitch, Crisp stole second, and then four pitches later, Cespedes walked. Obviously, Scioscia was counting on Jepsen retiring Cepedes and ending the Oakland threat, but had he been looking forward a little further, just in case Jepsen wasn't able to do his job, he should have realized he would want Norris to bat instead of a pinch-hitter. Replacing Downs with Jepsen guaranteed Norris would not bat. In his career, Derek Norris hits left-handers at a .215/.277/.344 rate, while John Jaso hits right-handers at a .272/.369/.425 clip. Who would you want hitting in that situation? But what about Downs and Cespedes? Cespedes does about the same regardless of who is on the mound, which is about the same as Jaso does against righties. In other words, it would have been better for Downs to face Cespedes and Norris than having Jepsen facing Cespedes and Jaso, and at the very least, having Downs face Cespedes.
- The next question is; why was Jepsen even facing Jaso? Where was lefty Sean Burnett? Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels - April 9, 2013 - MLB.com. "Lefty Sean Burnett was available, but he didn't start warming up until after Moss' homer three batters later. Scioscia wanted to save Burnett for the eighth, and he said the sage lefty couldn't pitch more than one inning because of a blister he acquired in Sunday's finale in Texas. The blister was underneath the nail of his left middle finger, but Burnett said it was "a one-day thing" and was not affecting him on Tuesday. "[Jepsen] was the guy to get out of that inning," said Scioscia, "The issue was not only the seventh inning, but the eighth inning." Who cares about the eighth inning when the game is lost in the seventh?
- How does a good organization use its bullpen? A's power past their problems in 9-5 win - CSN Bay Area. "In the fourth inning Chris Resop relieved Parker with the bases loaded and one out and didn't allow a runner to score. He might have been the hero of the game until Jaso and Moss erupted for two home runs in the seventh."
- It shouldn't be this hard: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels - April 10, 2013 - MLB.com. "Three consecutive series losses is not exactly the way the revamped Angels had hoped to start their 2013 season -- a year after a well-documented poor start put the club behind the eight ball. "If my best is what it was before, it is going to be my best now," Blanton said. "I can't do better than my best, and that's what I always give." What happens when your best isn't good enough?? At least we have this to look forward to:Athletics-Angels Preview - Yahoo! Sports. "Hamilton is 4 for 9 with a home run against Milone and Pujols has four doubles in his eight at-bats. The six current A's players who have faced Blanton are a combined 5 for 36 (.139), with Coco Crisp going 2 for 15."
- Angels SS Erick Aybar leaves with bruised heel - FOX Sports. "Aybar, a Gold Glove winner in 2011, got hurt while stretching to reach first base on an infield single Tuesday night in the team's home opener." Aybar likely to sit Wednesday with bruised heel - angels.com "It was hurting," Aybar said in Spanish. "It hurts even more now."
- Angels try to pick up the pieces after Jered Weaver breaks elbow - Yahoo! Sports. "As it lies, and for the next four to six weeks, there appears to be little to rely on in the rotation. Just Tuesday night, hours after the news of Weaver's injury rumbled through the clubhouse, Wilson trudged through a 43-pitch first inning against the Oakland A's. By the second inning, the Angels trailed, 4-0, on their way to a 9-5 loss against a small-market franchise that for all its limitations has mined a better pitching staff."
- Angels headed for title, or Moreno's Most Spectacular Failure Yet - CBSSports.com. "The enormous payroll, the ginormous collection of talent inside the clubhouse … this is an organization bursting at the seams with an embarrassment of riches. It should be popping champagne corks in late October … or it will collapse under its own weight. There is no in-between."
Josh Hamilton is having the same problem Albert Pujols had last April, all while Mike Scioscia makes some questionable decisions with his bullpen.