The Angels are Winning, but a Bump and a Bruise are Showing
|Flickr user myhsu|
When you have a total of 16 games in your season, as in the NFL, a two-game losing streak is enough to finish you. In baseball, that amounts to a blip on the radar; barely worth mentioning.
Baseball, it has been said, is a marathon, not a sprint.
The Angels stumbled out of the gate but quickly regained control. Now, with the thrill of opening week behind them, the monotony of the regular season begins. This is the time the cream normally rises to the top, or begins to.
The team is trying to win its sixth Western Division title since 2004. In order to do that, in order to win a marathon, you have to overcome the bumps and bruises, the highs and the lows, that are a natural part of competing.
The Angels are playing better, but are showing off one bump and a huge bruise.
Scioscia: A Player's Manager to a Fault
The official story is that Fernando Rodney was unavailable to close out the Detroit Tigers last night. Instead, the call went to Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes did his best anti-Rodney impersonation, giving up the tying and then go-ahead runs to take the loss. Where Rodney has been shutting the door on teams, Fuentes, in this game, was a kindly porter who held the door open for the Tigers long enough for them to get two runs across the plate.
Let the closer controversy begin?
Not on Scioscia's watch. The Angels skipper doesn't do controversy.
Scioscia is a player's manager, sometimes to a fault. Fuentes didn't make anyone forget K-Rod last year, but he did lead the league in saves. He wasn't automatic, but he got the job done. The ninth inning is his.
I appreciate that approach; as a fan, I love a manager who is decisive. Don't tell us, however, that Rodney wasn't available. Sure, he pitched four out of the last five games, but that was two games--day off--two more games. This was not a tired or over-used pitcher.
Fuentes got the call because he is Scioscia's man until he proves otherwise. The manager's commitment to a player cost him one game. In the big scheme of things, no big deal, but this does put Fuentes on a short leash.
Speaking of short leashes...
Wood: When to Sit
With Maicer Izturis sitting in the wings ready to go, how long can the Angels continue to roll Wood out there? He doesn't look comfortable. Right now, he doesn't even look like he belongs.
A .093 average, 13 strike-outs, zero home runs, zero RBIs, zero extra base hits--that's just horrible. He has had 43 at-bats in which to put up those imposing numbers.
Barring injury, a good hitter can expect to see 500 AB's in a season. An average hitter, who hits lower in the lineup getting less opportunities, might top out at 350 to 400 AB's. If we put Wood in the latter category, his season totals to date represent about 10 percent of his total.
Sure, the baseball season is a long one, but what do you think the remaining 90 percent of Wood's AB's will look like?
They might look a lot like Macier Izturis.