So what do the Angels do now?
Let’s go to the tote board. The Angels are:
- 10th in the American League in runs.
- 13th in the American League in ERA.
- Leading the American League in errors.
Mike Scioscia has already called one team meeting, so he has played that card. He shuffled his lineup, moving Mike Trout into the No. 2 hole, so he has played that card, too. If his club doesn’t get something going against the Astros this weekend, things could get really interesting in Anaheim.
When they started 3-6 last season, they had great confidence that their starting pitching would be fine. This season, not so much. It’s not even that Jered Weaver is sidelined a few weeks with a broken left elbow. It’s that he was throwing 85 mph when he was injured and that plenty of scouts wonder if something is wrong with him. C.J. Wilson is winless after two starts that were neither terrible nor really good, either. And the new guys in the rotation—Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas—haven’t exactly inspired confidence. There’s not much help at the upper level of the minor leagues, either.
Likewise, Josh Hamilton is a concern, and not just because he’s hitting .200 with 13 strikeouts in 35 at-bats. He’s so aggressive at the plate that it’s a wonder any team ever throws him a strike. On the other hand, he has carved out a very nice career for himself doing it this way.
To get the Angels turned around, it has to begin with the starting rotation. If those guys are going well—and every last one of them has had success at various points in their careers—then every other problem suddenly seems less significant. In a perfect world, Garrett Richards would use Weaver’s injury to establish himself in the big league rotation. If he does that, and if Weaver is effective upon his return, and if Wilson finally gets things figured out (and he will), the Angels will be fine.
If things don’t happen, it won’t matter how many team meetings they call or how the lineup is shuffled. They’re dealing with waves of bad news at the moment, and they have to persevere. When you take three steps back and look at the roster, it’s easy to believe the Angels will be okay.
Are they better than the A’s? No, they are not. Are they better than the Rangers? No, they are not. But this season isn’t even two weeks old, and if the Angels have to trade for a starting pitcher, they may have to do that. If that means trading Mark Trumbo or a top prospect (first baseman C.J. Cron), they may have to do it.
They’re a win-now organization.
For now, Scioscia’s job will be managing the pressure. Bad teams are nightmarish for teams expected to do well. Even if there were questions about the rotation, the Angels still appeared to have enough to get by. Scioscia has been doing this a long time and is terrific at creating the right environment in the room. At this point, that’s about all he can do.