As if matching a franchise worst 2-8 start wasn’t embarrassing enough, the Los Angeles Angels managed to leave their fans with an even more troubling image in Friday night's 5-0 loss to the Astros. Or more specifically, Josh Hamilton did thanks to his mind-numbing mental lapse that occurred on the final play of the game.
With Hamilton on first and one out, Mark Trumbo hit a lazy pop foul just to the left of home plate that catcher Jason Castro handled easily for the second out. Hamilton, who had lost track of the outs, ran the ball out just in case something happened and it landed fair. In his confused state he probably figured he was hustling, but he was really only running into a strange, but fitting, game-ending double play.
Here's what manager Mike Scioscia had to say about the play courtesy of MLB.com's William Boor:
"That's a mental mistake," Scioscia said of Hamilton. "I think as perfect as players try to play, as hard as they try to play, unfortunately mental mistakes are going to creep into the scenario. We have seen it on the other side, guys from other teams. Unfortunately, it got us tonight. Josh knows it. He's accountable and we're going to move on."
When it rains it pours, and when you're already down the game of baseball will continually find ways to kick you around.
The first cliche you know, the second I believe I just made up. Either way, it's the truth. Baseball just has a way of piling on when things aren't going well and you're not as mentally sharp as you need to be. And if there's anyone who would be off mentally right now, it's Hamilton, who's 0 for 4 dropped his average to .179. Not to mention the taxing trip back to Texas last weekend.
It doesn't excuse losing track of something as simple as the number of outs in an inning, but it can help explain it. And as Scioscia notes, Hamilton is aware of the mistake and likely won't fall victim to it or anything like it in the near future. And who knows, it might be the moment that helps him regain his focus.