Talk about a buzzkill. One day we are celebrating the Angels as the new AL West division leader. A few days later the Angels are wallowing in their own misery and trying to figure out how their offense got so bad so fast.
Granted, it wasn’t like the lineup was putting up big numbers to begin with, but after getting shutout by the likes of Dice-K and Big John Lackey in the span of 24 hours, some thigns clearly need to change. The question is what changes will make any kind of difference?
Oh, sorry, did you think that was a rhetorical question? No, I’m literally asking. I have no idea how to fix this offense and, sadly, I’m not sure that Mike Scioscia does either. Ladies and gentlemen, the suggestion box is now officially open.
I can already predict several of the suggestions people will, let’s just run through them real quick if only to shoot holes in the ideas:
- Shake up the batting order! As if Mike Scioscia hasn’t already thought of this. He has actually been fairly stable with his lineup thus far, but the changes are starting to become more drastic now. i don’t think this will do any good though because too many guys aren’t hitting, so you can’t really “hide” the underperformers becauser there are just too many.
- Bench Player X! Another good idea, but totally impractical because the Angels have nobody on the bench worth promoting. Wells, Trumbo and Hunter are all struggling mightily, but who would replace them? Callaspo is already getting mixed in pretty regularly. Hank Conger is starting a majority of games at catcher. Bobby Wilson isn’t an improvement over anyone and Reggie Willits has no business playing more than once a week at best.
- Trade for someone! A nice idea, but totally impractical. First off, no team is trading away an impact player in late-April, just doesn’t happen. Second, and most importantly, who would the Angels even bench to make room for a new big shot player? The guys struggling the most for them are big salary, big name guys and Halo management isn’t about to send any of them to the pine when it is really in their best interest to let them play their way out of their slump.
That takes care of all the standard ideas. What I want now is some suggestions that are a little more outside the box.
The only thing I can come up with actually isn’t all that original because it is what the Angels said they were going to do before the season: get back to small ball and running the bases. I know that seems simple, but I think it is really their best option. Right now, the Angels have been living and dying by the homer, which is scary because they are probably overachieving in the power department right now, so things could get even uglier once they regress to the mean. In fact, I think that is what pretty much happened in the Boston series.
The beauty of my plan is that it is pretty easy to implement and requires few drastic changes. The most glarin alteration is to move Howie Kendrick to first, Izturis to second and have Alberto Callaspo play third most days. Trumbo can still be mixed in against lefties now and again, but he shouldn’t play much right now until either he heats up or Callaspo cools down. What I would also like to see is Vernon Wells dropping down to six or seventh in the lineup and Kendrick get moved into the middle of the order. Ideally, this would be my lineup: Izturis-Abreu-Hunter-Kendrick-Callaspo-Wells-Conger-Bourjos-Aybar. Now, I know that looks kind of crazy, but I don’t envision it as a long-term solution, just one that plays to the current strengths of the lineup and minimizes the current struggling players. Of course, this only works if Scioscia commits to having his speedsters steal and hit-and-run at almost every single opportunity.
Does the idea blow my skirt up? No, not really, but it is the best I can come up with given the team’s current limitations and it is at least a little more interesting than the standard approach the Angels appear to be using which is sticking with the status quo until the big bats heat up and Morales returns.
OK, I’ve said my piece, now it is your turn to use those big brains of yours. I’ll be sure to pass all suggestions along to Mike Scioscia… once I figure out how to actually get him to pay attention to me.