On Life Support
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This was supposed to be a celebration. But on the night the Angels basked in the glow of the 10th anniversary of their 2002 world championship, the current club suffered a crushing defeat, 1 that might bury them in the chase for the postseason.
The Angels blew an 8-run lead tonight, allowing the Rays to rally for a 10-8 stunner that surely will result in a major hanger tomorrow for owner Arte Moreno.
“It started off as a joyous night,” Angels play-by-play announcer Victor Rojas said near the end of the disaster.
But there would be no joy in Anaheim. Instead, the Angels were dealt their most demoralizing setback of the season—and that’s saying something considering the 6-run lead they coughed up earlier this month against the Rangers.
Joe Maddon, who served as bench coach to Mike Scioscia during the 2002 run, probably will indulge in some champagne after this huge win. So will Fernando Rodney, who recorded his major-league leading 37th save in 39 opportunities. Didn’t he used to pitch for the Angels?
Like the Angels, the Rays are battling for a post-season berth, holding a 1-game lead in the wild-card slot over the O’s and A’s and having a shot at the American League East title, where they trail the Yankees by only 5 games.
The Angels? Oh doctor. They aren’t on life support yet, but they need to find a pulse soon. They fell 8 back of the AL West-leading Rangers and haven’t shown they can contend. They also trail the A’s, one of the best stories in Major League Baseball, by 3 games in the West.
How bad is it for the Angels, who dropped their 3rd straight? They are closer to the celler-dwelling Mariners—only 5 back of them—than they are to the Rangers.
Moreno has to be beside himself. He shelled out huge money for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson during the off-season (and then picked up Zack Greinke before the trade deadline). While Pujols, who hit a 2-run homer tonight, has carried a big stick lately, Wilson can’t make anything stick. He hasn’t recorded a decision in his last 10 outings, giving up 7 runs tonight during Tampa’s uprising and getting KO’d in the 5th. And this came after the Rays lit up ace Jered Weaver on Friday night.
The Angels have 41 games remaining, plenty of time to right the ship and make a run for the playoffs. But if they don’t, Moreno must call for Scioscia’s head. After all, the celebration of the 2002 title put a spotlight on what Scioscia hasn’t done in the past 10 years. And the Angels haven’t made a playoff appearance in the past 2 seasons.
Granted, a World Series crown is a difficult achievement. But with the pieces Moreno gave Scioscia this season, a playoff berth was all but a given.
If not, he should be shown the door. His effectiveness in the clubhouse seems to have worn out its welcome. Best manager in baseball? Since when?