Let me get one thing out of the way: I like Mike Scioscia. I met him once, right after the Angels won the World Series in 2002. We crossed paths on a sidewalk, and I thanked him for finally bringing home a championship. He promised to bring home another one.
I'm still waiting for that.
Here's the problem with Mike Scioscia, the manager: he can't stop managing. He simply doesn't know when to take the Phil Jackson approach, and let the best players play. People complained that Phil Jackson wasn't animated enough, or didn't 'coach' enough, but he won 11 championships. I'll take that kind of "non-coaching" any day.
Mike Scioscia has many qualities as a manager. He's patient, baseball-smart, steady and keeps his problems in-house.
But his problems are just as numerous. He is stubborn, sticks with his favorite players beyond comprehension (Reggie Willits, anyone?), and is overly enamored with "little" ball, otherwise known as "loser ball."
It's time someone stop complimenting Scioscia on making the Angels into a national league team and remind him they are in the AMERICAN LEAGUE, i.e. they need to score RUNS.
His biggest problem is Mickey Hatcher. As hitting coach of a team that never hits, how does Mickey Hatcher still have a job?
Once again, I like Hatcher. He's fun and seems like a great guy to be around. I just wish he were working elsewhere because "hatchet-job" Hatcher has been in charge of some of the weakest, most BORING, offensive Angel teams in YEARS.
Season after season fans call for his head, but Scioscia would rather resign than fire his pal, Mick. Blind loyalty might make Scioscia a swell guy, but it makes him flawed as a skipper.
And it makes the Angels losers.
For too many years now, Angels fans have suffered through teams with good pitching, solid defense and clones of the same type of singles hitters. Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis, Reggie Willits, even Alberto Callaspo, are all solid players who are good in the field and make contact at the plate.
The problem with them is that you need three hits to get a run. The Texas Rangers, with their home run hitters, need one.
Tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Rays was a perfect example. The Angels are down by two in the ninth, get a runner on base, and could tie the game with a home run. Mark Trumbo waits on the bench and is just the man Scioscia needs.
And that's exactly where Mark Trumbo finishes the game: on the bench.
That's because Scioscia went with "loser" ball instead, and let his favorites Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo hit instead. Ground ball to second, fly ball to left, game over.
Mike Scioscia has taken a team with the potential to FINALLY have some pop, and turned them into the banjo hitters of 2011. And 2010. And 2009.
There is only one solution. Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales need to be in the line-up EVERY day, no matter who's on the mound, right-hander or left-hander. And if Trumbo makes an error in the field, so be it. I can live with a few errors in exchange for 30 homers. The Angels will not beat Texas by bunting.
They need their best hitters in the line-up. Their best pitchers on the mound.
And their manager out of the way.
Manage a little less, Mike. It might work out for the best.