Prior to Sunday's contest against the Texas Rangers, the 55-year-old skipper aimed some particularly critical words in the direction of star outfielder Josh Hamilton, via The Dallas Morning News' Gerry Fraley:
"Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout," Scioscia said. "He's not in the batter's box with the confidence we know he has. He's not attacking the ball like he can. He's working hard to try to find it...but we need him to do what he's capable of doing, or close to that."
It's not exactly conventional for a manager to publicly call out a player in the midst of his team's four-game winning streak, but it's likely just an attempt to light a fire under the 33-year-old.
Hamilton, who got off to a scorching start to the 2014 MLB season before tearing a ligament in his thumb, has been atrocious as of late. In August, he's hitting .189/.271/.358 with two home runs, three walks and 24 strikeouts in 14 games. In his last two games, he has been K'd seven times in nine at-bats.
As the Orange County Register's Pedro Moura noted, the strikeouts have been especially concerning:
Josh Hamilton with a Golden Sombrero in Arlington. The Texans really love it. Hamilton's strikeout rate of 31% is by far a career-high.— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) August 16, 2014
On the season, Hamilton is hitting .266/.339/.414 with eight home runs and a 116 OPS+, per Baseball-Reference.com. So it hasn't totally been a lost season, but it's not what the Angels were imagining when they threw $125 million at him prior to the 2013 season.
It's probably time for Scioscia to stop hoping for the Texas version of Hamilton—the one who won MVP and had an OPS of .952 from 2010 through 2012—to reappear. But something resembling an above-replacement-level player would suffice.
The Angels have trudged along without him producing in the last month, and they now have a 98.4 percent chance to crack the postseason, per FanGraphs.
Come playoff time, though, the Halos will need more from their cleanup hitter, especially with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols creating so many opportunities in front of him.