A rough first week for new LA Angels manager Brad Ausmus
By David Rice
Last fall when Brad Ausmus was named the 19th manager in LA Angels history everyone was all smiles. There was a sense of new hope with new blood in the manager’s office.
However a week into the 2019 season Brad Ausmus is problem wondering what he signed up for. The LA Angels season thus far has not gone as planned, not even close for Ausmus. Ausmus knew he would be without the services of 2018 Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani for at least the first month. However, that is only the beginning of Ausmus’ problems.
Just before the season started, in the second to last exhibition game, Justin Upton ran into the wall and hurt his toe and was later diagnosed with turf toe which will cause him to miss up to three months. Couple this with Ohtani’s injury and you have two major pieces missing from Ausmus’ repitroire and the Angels offense has suffered because of it.
If that wasn’t enough one of the Angels top pitchers Andrew Heaney has an inflamed shoulder and he may not be back until at least mid-May. Ausmus saw first-hand last season how injuries can decimate a team and I’m sure he feels some of the pain and frustration that Mike Scioscia has felt over the past couple of seasons.
Ausmus has had to be very creative on the fly to put together a line-up that works and so far he has not found one. He has deployed a platoon in left field with Peter Bourjos and newcomer Brian Goodwin. He has also used Justin Bour and Albert Pujols as a DH/1B platoon until Ohtani comes back.
As for the pitching side of things Felix Pena has now been added to the rotation in place of Heaney and he also decided along with general manager Billy Eppler to send last year’s 5th starter Jaime Barria down to the minors and acquire Chris Stratton from the Giants to be the 5th starter for now.
With the Angels starting out with a 1-6 record Ausmus is trying to adjust on the fly and see if he can tinker with the Angels line-up to get some production out of it. Hopefully for Ausmus and the Angels things will turn around sometime soon and the Angels can get back in the race.