NEW YORK -- These are not the Angels. This 2-6 team, sitting in last place in the AL West, 3.5 games out of first, looks nothing like the team that has won three straight division titles and six of the past eight. Which may be why after their latest sub-par effort, a 7-5 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday, manager
The Angels' stretched the clubhouse cooldown period to the outer limits of the permissible 10 minutes to allow Scioscia to "tighten some stuff up,'' in his words.
How did he do that? "You get out that verbal wrench, and you tighten it up,'' Scioscia said. "We have different sizes in several different languages.''
Afterward, Scioscia offered his version of some of the many things he's seen and the many things he'd like to see going forward:
• "Some things have happened this week that have been uncharacteristic, and some things have snowballed.''
• "Some guys in that room are trying too hard. Some guys' confidence is getting tested.''
• "There are a lot of things we're not doing as well as expected to.''
• "The real heartbeat of our club is the rotation. We've been getting good efforts mixed in with inconsistencies.''
• "Pitchers are getting a little tentative, a little indecisive, in the pitcher-catcher relationship.''
• "I think the guys in the bullpen need to get settled.''
• "For the most part, we're not playing the high level of baseball we're capable of playing.''
• "There are things that obviously we need to clean up.''
• "We haven't competed the way we can.''
• "We're talking about being able to execute ... and right now we're not.''
That was never more obvious than in the fourth inning, when
When someone mentioned regarding Morales' mistake to Scioscia that "it happens,'' Scioscia quickly shot back, "It shouldn't happen. That is definitely not something that falls under the heading, 'Junk happens.' That's something obviously we need eliminate.''
The Angels have a fairly established team that was thought by most experts to have taken a small step back after losing ace
There isn't much that can be done beyond talking to them. Although, one thing to keep an eye on is youngster
One thing Scioscia should be pleased about is that the Angels are not making excuses. "He's right,'' Hunter said of Scioscia. "We've got to go out and play the game the way we know how to perform and execute.''
Hunter didn't accept the suggestion that the tragedy a couple of their players witnessed before heading to Yankee Stadium for the game -- a 39-year-old man plunged to his death outside their team hotel -- is a valid excuse for a poor performance.
"That ain't the reason why we lost,'' Hunter said. "We've been playing bad the the whole time -- eight days.''
Hunter called the start "disappointing'' but stopped short of saying he's concerned.
"Come back and ask me that in 30, 40 games,'' he said. "If we're 2-28, I'd really be (ticked).''
That, of course, won't happen. For now, on a scale of 1-10, the Angels only rank a 5 on the Worry Meter. But as their manager well knows, they need to avoid many repeat performances of Tuesday's disaster.
The Angels aren't the only ones off to a disappointing start. Here are four other teams who have struggled out of the gate, and just how worried they should be.
"Not impressive'' was the two word summary by one scout of their beginning.
With talented youngsters
Plus, the call to play
Everyone in Florida said the Orioles were improved, and some even called them "most improved.'' Through eight games, though, they look as feeble as ever.
They've lost five in a row to drop to 1-7. What's more, word of their alleged improvement apparently hasn't gotten to their skeptical fans; the O's drew a record low 9,129 fans to beautiful Camden Yards on Monday.
There was suspicion all along that the Mariners overachieved last year to get to 85 wins. They led the majors in one-run victories and actually allowed more runs than they scored, so there were a fair number of skeptics to go with the believers in their team built around pitching and defense.
The injury to Cliff Lee, their biggest winter acquisition, is demoralizing in that he's here for only one year and they need him now.
But the hitting is the main issue. They lost
When I referred to the Astros as a "rebuilding'' team this spring, their new manager
Rebuilding is actually what they should be doing but won't under their current dysfunctional front office setup. In the meantime, they have a lineup with
But of course, since the Astros refuse to rebuild, they won't do the smart thing and trade Oswalt at the deadline. They'll undoubtedly hold onto him for the race that will never materialize.
• Phillies GM
• Good for young Reds outfielder
• The Blue Jays are rebuilding the right way hiring many new scouts and taking chances on young talents, like shortstop
• It's an issue worth discussing, but I think
• The Yankees, led by