LA Angels News

LA Angels Series Preview: Limping Yankees stumble into Anaheim

By Ryan Falla
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Catcher Joe Hudson #44 and closing pitcher Ty Buttrey #31 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrate with a high-five after the MLB game at Angel Stadium on September 11, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Ranger 1-0. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Catcher Joe Hudson #44 and closing pitcher Ty Buttrey #31 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrate with a high-five after the MLB game at Angel Stadium on September 11, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Ranger 1-0. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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Success doesn’t come overnight

I know all us Angel fans wanted to see the team pop out of the gates on fire even if we didn’t have the most confidence in the many working parts of the club going into the 2019 season. The problem here is that people are calling for Brad Ausmus’ head like the world is ending due to the Angels struggles.

Here’s the problem with that, success does not come overnightI know I stated so in the header of this slide, but you all need to hear it again. There is no magic formula for Ausmus to plug in and bring instant wins to the team.

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It is a long season and when you’re such a young ballclub; from front office, to management, to coaching, to players, you’re going to need time to evaluate the optimal configuration to bring long-lasting success. Not just success over a series or a week. Season long success.

The necessary changes are have been coming to light all month; at the beginning of the season people hated Tommy La Stella relegating David Fletcher to a bench role to open the season. People said that Ausmus was already blundering coming out of the gate and there was no reason Fletcher shouldn’t be started.

But guess what happened?

The little changes started coming, from Fletcher coming in as a defensive sub to covering backup duties at 3B and LF to the occasional start,  now we’re seeing him in the lineup everyday. By the end of the first week Fletcher was practically starting on the team; it only took one week for Ausmus to evaluate and allow the proper pieces to fall into place.

This is complete “anti-Scioscia” management. Scioscia was the type of manager to just shove someone into a role and expect them to perform. Ausmus, on the other hand, allows the pieces to fall into place and doesn’t try to force the team into one molding or another. That’s the key with young teams, let them mold themselves, don’t try to force them into a box like Scioscia would.

I know you’re all upset that Justin Bour is still starting regularly, but the fact is that Ausmus hands are tied there. We won’t be seeing any alternatives until Eppler feels that Matt Thaiss or Jared Walsh is ready to contribute competitive at-bats with the Angels.

I know everyone is upset with Bour’s lack of effort in his play recently and want him DFA, but at the same time the little improvements are being ignored over wants for immediate, overnight success.

No one seems to like Bour hitting #3 behind Trout, and while that doesn’t initially seem like the most optimal lineup it’s been looking better and better as the days go by. In the last 14 days Bour has complied a .296/.367/.370 slash line with 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s.

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That slash line shows an increased effectiveness in quality of swings and approach at the plate; even if the power numbers aren’t there we’re still seeing the little things coming together. At this pace of improvement Bour will be slugging the ball in no time, he may not turn into a raking machine but the trends all point to him returning to expected form.

This is what a proper manager does; he allows his players to earn trust and this is what we’re seeing with Ausmus. It isn’t just with Bour, he’s allowed Fletcher, Brian Goodwin, Tommy La Stella, and even Andrelton Simmons to earn his trust.

If Ausmus was managing the team the way everyone wanted him to then Andrelton Simmons would also have been a DFA candidate in the eyes of the fans given his poor state of hitting. But guess what, Andrelton Simmons was allowed to earn trust in his hitting and now he’s been killing the ball with his streak of 5 games with a double (6 total in 5 games).

Just as Andrelton Simmons was given the opportunity to earn trust it is so with Justin Bour and even Zack Cozart (but to a much smaller effect as he has shown no signs of improvement). The name of the game here is patience and trust that the talents will all fall into place if you allow them. So far Ausmus has managed with a strong, trusting hand, and it’s paying off. It may not be paying off in immediate dividends, but they will build up into something truly special.

Baseball is a marathon, it’s not a sprint. There’s nothing wrong with getting your legs under you. The Yankees are still putting it all together too, so it isn’t like this Angels team is an isolated case.

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