Through his first five starts of the year Brandon has been about as comfortable in the batter’s box as Jesse James would be in the audience of the Def Comedy Jam. But is that really any surprise? The Angels insisted all spring long that third base his job to lose, but they always seemed to place just a little too much emphasis on the “lose” part of that proclamation. Even when giving him a vote of confidence, the team can’t help but make it seem more like an ultimatum and constant reminder that Maicer Izturis will be breathing down his neck the instant he slips up even the tiniest bit. Sometimes it seems like the Angels couldn’t have tried harder to set up Wood for failure, so should we really be berating the guy for failing?
Actually, to say that Wood is failing is even a little bit unfair. Sure, he only has one hit in his five games thus far, but let’s not focus on the one hit part of that phrase and more on the “five starts” portion. Wood may not technically qualify as a rookie, but that is what he is for all intents and purposes and struggling for a few games at a time is part of the rookie experience, no matter who you are (unless you are Jason Heyward who apparently is some kind of superior form of life). It really sucks that Wood’s first slump came this early on in the year, but these things happen to both rookies and veterans alike, you just have to keep it all in perspective and Angel fans most certainly aren’t doing that with Wood.
Strikeouts and streaky hitting were always expected to be part of deal with Brandon Wood as his minor league numbers have more than born out. Everyone who had ever even heard of Wood before this season knew that about him coming into the year, yet now that those two characteristics have reared their ugly heads, suddenly the deficiencies are completely and totally unacceptable. Well, that seems about as fair and balanced as Fox News, if you ask me.
What it also seems like is a perfectly good cover for the real reason that fans are drinking the Brandon Wood Haterade: the Angels stink right now. As bad as Wood is slumping at the plate, the Angels are currently playing even worse as a team and the fans need someone to blame. Who better to take your frustrations out on than the new kid on the block? The Angels have loads of problems right now, but the struggles of Brandon Wood are far from the biggest concerns (those are all located in the bullpen) yet Wood gets more crap than anyone because it is just so easy to hate the kid that everyone already kind of doesn’t like simply because his name isn’t Chone Figgins.
I like to hate on guys as much as the next fan (just ask me how I feel about Fernando Rodney), but it is time we all let Brandon Wood off the hook. A young player in Wood’s position doesn’t need the fans piling on when he is down, he needs the fans to have his back and give him some confidence because that is the biggest hole in his game right now. Maybe with a little encouragement, Wood could realize the potential he has teased for so many years. If he still sucks after that, then by all means, let him have it, just give the poor guy a few more weeks to make his case (you too, Mike Scioscia).