Mike Scioscia Gets Crazy With The Lineup But Angels Still Fail With RISP: Swept By The Rays


Mike Scioscia got “creative” with the lineup Wednesday hitting Torii Hunter second followed by  Alberto Callaspo and Bobby Abreu in the 3 and 4 holes.  You have to admire the creativity but the Halos then went out and promptly did what they’ve done all year. Completely fail with men on base.

The Angels squandered a second and third no out opportunity before wasting another bases loaded 1 out scoring chance when Torii Hunter grounded into yet another double play. The issue isn’t the batting order. The Angels recent offensive struggles are the result of a lack of an effective mental approach and offensive game plan. Most ( not all of this) resides with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and the rest of the staff. Aside from Bobby Abreu , no Angel hitter consistently displays a good approach at the plate.

Here are some potential remedies.

The Angels should look into hiring a sports psychologist to get them to relax and focus in pressure situations. May sound crazy but this same approach has worked wonders for (my Alma Mater) The Oregon State Baseball team. The Beavers have advanced to the Super Regionals where they will take on Vanderbilt starting tomorrow. The focus and attention to detail are clearly missign from the Angels offensive approach and sports psychologist would go along way on helping the Halos focus in on the moment.

The other thing that needs to happen but likely wont is Mickey Hatcher has to be replaced as hitting coach. I’m all for keeping Mick around in some capacity to maintain a loose clubhouse and orchestrate  grab ass shenanigans to keep dudes smiling – but  his time as the Halos offensive architect has came and went. No Angel other than Bobby Abreu displays a consistently sound hitting approach and the Angels as a team never seem to have a plan to attack opposing pitchers. Last night was a a primary example. When Mike Scioscia inexplicably called on Fernando Rodney to pitch in the top of the 10th inning you saw the Rays hitters immediately go into take mode. Each Rays hitter took until he saw the first strike and their general approach was a sharp turn from the aggressive early count swinging they employed when Jered Weaver was in the game.  Predictably the Rays worked the lead-off walk and won the game.

The Angels rarely if ever adjust to an opposing pitcher in such a manner. Despite all the film and advanced scouting available the Halos hitters approach remains the same. This isn’t to place all the blame on Hatcher. It’s up to the players to execute. But  IF he is giving specific game plan advisEe that is being ignored there is even more reason for change. I mean were 60 plus games into the season yet we are seeing the Angels make outs the same ways they have all year. It begs the questions:   Is Torii Hunter being instructed to hunt elevation in double play scenarios? Are Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos being instructed and drilled to lay off breaking balls away and fastballs up with RISP? From the outside looking in  the resounding answer appears to be no.

Something has got to give.