2017 is ending just like 2016 and 2015 did for the Angels and many are placing the blame squarely on Mike Scioscia the Angels manager for the last 18 seasons . The manager does have some control of how a team plays, but …
As a manager you cannot go out on the field and play for the team. So to blame Mike Scioscia for the Angels performances while somewhat justified, is overall an unfair conclusion to make. On the contrary especially this season, Mike Scioscia should get a medal and even consideration for AL Manager of the Year.
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This year’s Angel team has had to deal with injuries times ten. The Angels have lost three starting pitchers for the season in addition they had only one starter, Ricky Nolasco, who was able to make over 30 starts this season. After Nolasco it goes down to 24 starts for J.C. Ramirez who pressed into a starter’s role after team ace Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs were lost in the first month of the season. Both have since comeback, but only recently.
The ultimate blow occurred on May 27th when reigning MVP Mike Trout went down for nearly two months with a torn ligament in his thumb. Scioscia was able to guide the Angels to a 20-21 record while Trout was out which allowed the Angels to stay in the race for the wild-card.
The Angels had many ups and down all season long, but Scioscia was right there to guide the team through the peaks and valleys. His decision to put Cameron Maybin in the lead-off spot paid dividends right away. Putting J.C. Ramirez in the rotation and moving Bud Norris to closer spot early in the season were masterful. Also his decision to put Parker Bridwell in the starting rotation and then a few weeks later putting Jesse Chavez in the bullpen where he has flourished were all great decisions.
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They were some disastrous moves such as putting Jesse Chavez in the rotation to begin with, waiting so long to pull the plug on Danny Espinosa at second base or giving Luis Valbuena the starting role at first base over C.J. Cron. However, Scioscia learns from his mistakes and is not afraid to make adjustments midstream if he feels the need to. Not many managers could have this year’s Angel team afloat and in the playoff chase until the final week of the season.
The game has definitely not passed the Angel manager by like some might suggest. His calm demeanor and his willingness to give his young players a shot in pressure situations are some of his best attributes. Mike Scioscia is definitely the person the Angels need to guide them back to the promioseland in the next couple of seasons. If they can limit the key injuries you may see #14 holding up another World Series trophy with the Angels.
If not he will be striking that same pose with another organization, maybe even a team just slightly North on the I-5 freeway. Think about how bitter that would be for Angel fans.