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Tuesday Halolinks: Scioscia's "what if" costs Angels

Mike Scioscia's managerial style of waiting for things to happen instead of making things happen has cost the team.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This team is weird.  Just when I start getting excited about them, the Angels play like they did Monday night.  It's hard to get excited about a team when that team doesn't seem too excited about themselves.  A lot has been written about the club's inability to get the timely hits, and the stats do prove they are lacking.  The Halos are eleventh in the Al in batting average with runners in scoring position (17th overall), but that stat really doesn't tell the whole story.  Consider this, the Angels have scored the fourth highest number of runs so far this season, and yet are below average when runners are on second or third.  The team with the highest batting average in that situation, Baltimore, has the second lowest run total in the league.  In fact, the Angels have the third highest number of hits with RISP.  So, although the club seems to being playing without any "passion", or lack that "clutchiness", you have to consider things are bound to get better if they continue to hit as well as they have been.  Getting on base is the first part of scoring runs, and the Angels are doing that.  Now they just have to capitalize on those situation a bit better.  This is a weird team, but they do have the potential to bust out.

  • I think I finally figured out what bugs me about Mike Scioscia's managing style: Scioscia answers for failed steal after Angels loss - The Orange County Register.  "The Angels trailed by a run Monday night when Raul Ibañez, batting in the No. 7 spot, led off the inning with a walk. A few pitches later, Chris Iannetta struck out as Ibañez was caught stealing second, for a rally-killing double play. Although the obvious move seemed to be Collin Cowgill pinch running for Ibañez, Scioscia said he felt he had to save Cowgill because he planned to pinch hit for left-handed Kole Calhoun if the Indians brought in either of their lefty relievers."  He's a defensive manager.  The moves he makes are made with the anticipation of what the other team is going to do.  Instead of forcing the opposing manager to adjust to the Angels' moves, Scioscia plays the "what if" game.  Instead of making things happen within the game and making the other team react, Scioscia manages to non-existent situations.
  • Here's an example from last night: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians - June 16, 2014 -  "Mike Scioscia didn't want to pinch-run for Raul Ibanez because he might have needed Collin Cowgill later, didn't want to sacrifice bunt because his bullpen couldn't handle a potential extra-inning game and didn't want to challenge a close call at second because he could've deployed it later. In the end, Scioscia was managing for situations that never occurred."  Instead of playing for the lead, or in this case a tie ballgame, Scioscia's moves were set up for a possibility of somethgin happening later in the game.  Doing this leaves the opposing manager in-charge leaving the Angles in a constant mode of playing catch-up.  Had Scioscia played his cards earlier (pinch-running Cowgill), it would have forced Indians' manager Terry Francona, into reacting to the Angels, instead of other way around.
  • Home runs prove costly for Weaver, Angels in loss - The Orange County Register.  "Asked to put a finger on why the increase in homers, Weaver said: "I wish I had an answer. When I have an answer, I’ll let you know." Manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver is simply being aggressive. "Sometimes guys are going to square some balls up," Scioscia said. "But all in all, he’s going to be aggressive."  By throwing the pitch down the middle of the plate.
  • Regardless of the game outcome, we'll always have Trout (until he leaves via free agency): Angels' Mike Trout is on a hot streak with consistent, compact approach -  "The most prevalent example of that came late into the night of June 7, amid the tension and the pressure and the noise of a crucial spot in front of an anxious fan base, when Trout took White Sox ace Chris Sale deep for a game-tying, eighth-inning grand slam. Trout admittedly came to the plate searching for a home run, then fouled off a couple of mid-90s fastball, repeated that magic phrase, stayed up the middle with his swing and smashed a line drive out to left-center field. "You get big in situations, and you lose your mechanics in the swing," Trout said then. "I just had to remind myself to stay short."
  • More Trout coverage, and why he's so good: Why is Mike Trout Still Getting Pitched Down and In? - FanGraphs Baseball.  "But the fact remains that Trout is destroying these low velocity pitches in the down-and-in part of the strike zone. Pitching him there isn’t working, and it’s not like there’s a safe zone if you just get a little more down-and-inside. His results on pitches in any part of the down-and-in zone is strongly positive, because he doesn’t chase down there, and when he does, he hits the ball really far."
  • And why everyone else seems to like him too: Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout poised for All-Star start -  "Trout, riding an 11-game hitting streak, has compiled 2,544,658 votes, which is less than 400,000 shy of Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista. The Angels' 22-year-old center fielder nonetheless looks primed to start his second straight Midsummer Classic, leading the fourth-place outfielder -- Yoenis Cespedes of the A's -- by more than 1.4 million votes. Trout would be the first Angels position player to start back-to-back All-Star Games since Vladimir Guerrero did it four straight times from 2004-07."
  • Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians - June 17, 2014 -  "Shoemaker has 11 Major League appearances to his name and was the arm the Angels turned to last month when Hector Santiago was taken out of the rotation. In five starts this season, Shoemaker is 3-0 with a 3.76 ERA. However, manager Mike Scioscia will have a decision to make about the future of his rotation soon."
  • Baseball lost another great player yesterday.  Tony Gwynn 1960 - 2014: 19 incredible stats about Tony Gwynn's Hall of Fame career - Yahoo Sports.  "In 2,440 career games, Gwynn had only 34 multi-strikeout games. So, the odds were better that Gwynn would get four hits than striking out twice. Let that sink in."