Do the 2012 Angels look a lot like the 2011 Red Sox or what? Like Boston did with Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez prior to last season, Los Angeles went out and signed two enormous free agents this past offseason in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Unfortunately, they are also off to a terrible start like the one the Red Sox experienced last season. The Angels are 6-12 to begin the year and Pujols is in one of the worst slumps of his career. According to Torii Hunter, neither the players nor the coaches are putting enough effort into winning.
“You have to dig deep,” Hunter said after Wednesday night’s loss to the Rays, according to the L.A. Times. “We can’t get down in the first two innings and say, ‘Here we go again.’ We have to fight a little harder. I don’t think we believe we’re trying that hard. We’re just going through the motions. We have to do what we’re capable of doing. That’s everybody; not just the players.”
Many who have heard or read Hunter’s comments interpret that as a shot at Mike Scioscia. Hunter and Vernon Wells led off the second inning with back-to-back singles, and Scioscia opted to let Maicer Izturis swing away rather than bunt and move both men into scoring position with one out. The Angels were able to load the bases after that but could not push any runs across. Hunter alluded to that inning after the game when asked if early execution could have changed the outcome.
“You mean if we bunted in the second?” he asked. “What can we do? All we do is play the game.”
That comment made it a bit more obvious that Hunter was questioning Scioscia’s approach. The Angels manager has been known for playing more small ball in the past, so the fact that he let Izturis swing away in that situation was a bit surprising. However, the Angels’ problems at the moment run far deeper than situational bunting. Pujols has yet to homer and they have only three players hitting above .300 — one of whom has only played in four games.
The bats are going to come alive and the Angels will go on a run at some point. In the meantime, perhaps Hunter’s remarks can help spark some emotion within L.A.’s revamped clubhouse.
H/T Hardball Talk
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