Angels Scapegoat Hatcher For Offensive Woes
It's Mickey Hatcher's fault. At least that's the ostensible reason for the Angels firing their hitting coach after Tuesday's 4-0 win over the Oakland Athletics. It doesn't tell the whole story, but after such a disappointing start with such a high-priced heart of the order, it's not surprising.
It's even less surprising after the way the Halos were toyed with in two of three games against the Texas Rangers last weekend.
"This is unfortunately a situation where a message needs to be sent, and a philosophy needs to be instilled," general manager Jerry Dipoto told MLB.com.
Apparently that message is that this team isn't ready to compete with Texas. Not yet, at least. But is there a philosophy that can explain why the three highest-paid players on the roster aren't producing the way everyone expects? And more importantly, is there a philosophy that can fix it?
No one imagined that six weeks into the season, Albert Pujols would have as many home runs as Dee Gordon. And certainly no one thought that after his awful April (.217/.304/.570 with 0 HR and 4 RBI) he'd follow it up with a more miserable May (.204/.259/.477 with 1 HR and 10 RBI).
Speaking of things that no one is saying aloud, but more people have to be wondering … what if this, more or less, is what we're going to see from Pujols for the rest of the season? At first it seemed unreasonable to think that the previously super-human slugger would need some time adjusting to pitching in a new league. But that could be exactly the case. It wouldn't be the first time. At the same point in the 2000 season, Ken Griffey, Jr. was still finding his sea legs in the National League in his first year with the Reds, hitting just .223. The difference is Griffey's 12 home runs and .891 OPS.
The good news is that there's some good ol' fashioned National League pitching coming up with the Angels heading to San Diego this weekend. Mike Scioscia and company have to hope that will be the cure for what ails Albert.