COMMENTARY | Just when everyone was ready to start writing the obituary for the Angels' 2013 season, they go and sweep the Tigers on the road, performing well in almost every aspect of the game for the first time this year.
Summer is officially here and it's the time of the season when teams need to make a decision about where they're headed. It's time to poop or get off the toilet. Summer is also the time of blockbuster action movies. And those movies always have that scene where the hero looks like he's lost it all and near death. But wait! He's still alive! Pretty standard screenwriting stuff.
So, it really shouldn't be surprising to a see a team from Los Angeles pulling this same dramatic showmanship. I was all prepared to write the concession speech to my article about how the Angles were guaranteed to make the playoffs, but this series against the Tigers confuses everything.
Should the Angels give up and plan for next year or should they believe they still have a shot at the playoffs?
Give Up #1: If you were playing pick-up basketball at the park and you got beat by a team of junior high girls, you'd probably give up basketball for a while, right? It's hard to put any faith in a team that was swept in a four-game series against the Houston Astros -- at home.
Believe #1: The Angels just went on the road and thrashed the Tigers like Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The Angels battered Detroit so badly they got nicknamed "the Economy."
Give Up #2: I don't know if this is on Mike Scioscia or GM Jerry DiPoto, but starting a weak-hitting third baseman who isn't a good fielder is practically begging to not make the playoffs. They could get the same awful production if they replaced Alberto Callaspo with a crash-test dummy or even Juan Uribe.
Believe #2: Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have been the Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes of baseball disasters. But the way baseball works, Hamilton/Pujols will probably start to come around -- though the same can't necessarily be said for Lohan/Bynes.
Give Up #3: The farm system stinks, so there aren't any reinforcements coming and it limits what trades they can make. This is part of the fallout from the free agent signings of Hamilton and Pujols -- and Charlie Sheen just showed up to our Bynes/Lohan metaphor.
Believe #3: The team isn't without trade chips. (Don't worry, Angels fans, I won't mention Mark Trumbo again.) Peter Bourjos is a very good player, and no team needs two centerfielders. He could get a nice return. Or maybe they can trick someone who isn't paying attention to "statistics" into taking Erick Aybar.
Give Up #4: Mike Scioscia seems to have lost his mojo as manager. Yes, he won a World Series, but that's pretty far back in the rearview. It might be time for him to move on to another situation and start fresh, like Terry Francona -- but hopefully without the smear campaign from the team.
Believe #4: On the flip side, Scioscia has a ton of experience and has seen it all -- as a player and manager. No matter what you think of the job he's doing, at least he's not Don Mattingly, managing a team as if he just found out the sport exists.
Give Up #5: There's a long way between the Angels and the last wild card spot. The Oakland Athletics went on a tear after I (foolishly) dismissed them and there's also the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians (just kidding -- I think we all know we don't have to worry about Cleveland sports teams).
Believe #5: The Angels have been somewhat unlucky this season and that usually runs out. (Though please don't mention "luck" to Baltimore Orioles or Pittsburgh Pirates fans!) Despite all of the Angels' problems, they have produced well. A few breaks here or there and they could actually have had a winning record.
See, there's no clear direction for this team. There's a lot that they're doing wrong. But wait! They're still alive!
Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a baseball writer. He is the lead humor columnist at Through The Fence Baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @JedRigney
- Sports & Recreation
- Mike Scioscia