There is an old adage in sports – players win games – coaches don’t. Yet when teams struggle coaches are typically among the first to receive blame. For Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher this statement has never been more accurate. With the Angels mired in one of the worst offensive seasons in recent memory calls for Hatchers dismissal as hitting instructor have never been louder.
Predictably the Angels hitters have come to the Mick’s defense. In the La Times story that ran earlier this week Halo players gave the typical “we have the bat in our hands” – “Mickey is such a motivator” song and dance that we’ve heard countless times before. The real question that needs to be asked and covered by the main stream media is what exactly is Hatcher doing to work on the obvious flaws of his most problematic hitters? We know all to well that Mickey is a fun dude to be around and is a great motivator cheerleader type fellow. But there are some really important questions that are missing from the equation.
- 1. What drills and work is being done to make Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells keep their front side close and stop pulling off every single pitch middle away? These three guys have been pulling off pitches all season long and from the outside looking in it appears nothing is changing in their approach.
- 2. What pre – game preparation do the Angels go through in preparing a game plan for the upcoming starting pitcher? Several times this season we’ve watched the Angels fail to execute a sound game plan against soft tossing control pitchers whose plan is to pound the strike zone with fastballs and off speed pitches away. Mitch Talbot and Jeff Francis are first to mind. Does the club not review film of these guys in previous starts and then prepare the game plan accordingly? Again from the naked eye the plan seems simple. Crowd the plate – hunt for elevation – and let the ball travel – thinking back up the middle and to the opposite field. The Angels have seem lost all season against pitchers who have been punished by the rest of the league.
These are just two important questions that should be asked. However more than likely the Angels will pick up their offense (they cant keep hitting this bad) and Hatcher will again be given a pass.
Onto the Tuesday Links: