Things are not going the way the Los Angeles Angels had envisioned they would to start 2012. After getting shutout by Bartolo Colon like it was 2005, the Angels are 4-8 through the first 12 games of the season and are already six games back from division leading Texas. Manager Mike Scioscia recognizes that the ship needs to get righted in a hurry if this team has any hope of living up to the expectations heaped on this team in spring training, so he told the players to stick around after last night’s 6-0 loss to the Oakland A’s for a team meeting where Scioscia was going to “bounce a couple things” off them. Hope they brought their batting helmets…
Scioscia wouldn’t get into details about what was discussed during the meeting, but he mentioned the phrase “grind it out” pretty frequently in his post-meeting press conference with the media, and seems like it’s going to be the theme for this team moving forward.
“The bottom line is, no matter what it is, you keep grinding,” Scioscia said. “Two outs, nobody on, you just keep pushing it and and pushing it. Right now, it seems like we’re a team trying to search for that offensive chemistry and that identity and we have to find it, because mental toughness is going to be an asset this year.
“We just need to get in that mode.”
The Angels were supposed to be a lineup that struck fear into opposing pitchers, with the addition of Albert Pujols and return of Kendrys Morales. Things haven’t gone quite that way, however, as Colon on Wednesday showed no fear, throwing 38 straight strikes at one point until he missed just a little low to Bobby Abreu in the eighth. That is a pitcher that didn’t care if the Angels were swinging, because they weren’t going to do anything with the ball anyways…and he was right. The most exciting play to come out of the Angels loss Wednesday was an Albert Pujols shot to the base of the wall in center field that looked like it might be his first home run of the year. In essence, a fly-out was the offensive highlight.
This isn’t the first time this offense has struggled. The Angels have scored three runs or fewer five times this season and have more lineups used this season than wins by more than double. The constant shifting, including keeping the Halos’ hottest bat, Mark Trumbo, out of the lineup, along with the slow start of Pujols and the streakiness of Morales has hobbled this offense in the early going. The Angels made a conscious effort to shift to a power hitting team when the went out and signed Pujols and kept Morales and Trumbo around. If the team doesn’t start finding some power, then they’re going to get the Colon treatment all season long. As unpleasant as that sounds, it will be even worse to watch.