Mike Scioscia: Will He Survive If the Angels Can't Turn Things Around Quickly?
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One-thousand, one-hundred sixty-two regular-season wins.
Six playoff appearances.
Two-time A.L. Manager of the Year Award winner.
World Series title in 2002.
There is only one word fit to describe the 14-year career of Mike Scioscia as manager of the Los Angeles Angels, and that word is accomplished.
However, in the cutthroat world of professional sports, the "What have you done for me lately?" question is also ever-present.
A second disappointing start (in as many years) has some fans in Southern California wondering whether Scioscia's stay as manager has run its course.
Be warned Scioscia supporters: If his seat isn't already hot, it is definitely warming.
The Angels entered the season fresh off their five-year, $125 million free-agency signing of Josh Hamilton. The slugger's contract expanded the team's 2013 payroll to $127 million, seventh-highest in all of baseball.
The Hamilton acquisition brought together three of the best and most feared hitters in the game, creating a star-studded trio that could rival any in history. The combination of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton account for 15 All-Star selections, 10 Silver Slugger Awards, four MVP awards, two Rookie of the Year honors and two batting titles.
But with talent comes high expectations.
And the Angels have certainly not lived up to them. The team has stumbled out of the gate in 2013 with a disappointing 7-10 record and find themselves 4.5 games behind the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West standings. They currently sit only 2.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros, a club some have predicted could lose north of 120 games this season.
Having said all of that, the finger pointing in Anaheim has largely been directed at manager Mike Scioscia. While it is easy to target the team's skipper, Scioscia is not entirely at fault for the slow start.
The team has been hit by the injury bug in April, most notably Jered Weaver and his broken left elbow (out for four to six weeks).
Aside from the disabled list, another problem facing the Angels this season is their lack of clutch hitting. The team is batting a measly .245 with men on base, which ranks 22nd out of 30.
Making matters worse, they aren't a whole lot better on the other side of the ball. The Angels ranked dead last in pitching with a 5.50 ERA through 15 games.
While Scioscia can be blamed for a lot of things, he can't be blamed for creating a roster in which Joe Blanton is his No. 3 starter. That one is on GM Jerry Dipoto. To be fair to Blanton though, the bullpen hasn't been much better. Relievers Kevin Jepson and Mark Lowe have been awful as well, sporting ERAs of 9.82 and 11.37, respectively.
While Scioscia is a part of the problem, he should not be considered the problem. With a managerial resume as impressive as his, Scioscia deserves a chance to right the ship.
And fortunately for him, the Angels front office appears willing to let him try to navigate his way out of troubled waters.
A series sweep of the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers this weekend showed what the Angels are capable of when their hitting is in sync with their pitching. The Halos outscored the Tigers 22-4 in what was a dominant three-game showing.
If the team can continue to rebound and make it to the .500 mark by the end of the month, look for Scioscia to hold on to his job. But if they continue to drop games and fall further behind Texas and Oakland in the standings, none of us should be surprised if team owner Arte Moreno makes a change at the helm.
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