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Josh Hamilton: ‘It sucks’ being so far out of first place

Josh HamiltonThe Los Angeles Angels are running out of time to climb out of the hole they have dug themselves into in the AL West, and Josh Hamilton knows it. The Angels fell to 12 games out of first place with a loss to the division-leading Oakland A’s on Saturday.

“It sucks. I mean, there’s not much I can tell you,” Hamilton said after the 3-1 loss, via MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “It’s one of those things where we’re going out, competing, doing what we can. … We’re playing how we want to play, and it’s hard. You have to do all the things – pitching, hitting, playing defense. We’ve done that in spurts, but really haven’t been consistent with it on a day-in, day-out bases. And that’s what it’s going to take – we have to do it day in and day out, get some momentum and rattle a few off.”

If Hamilton had been living up to his $125 million contract, the Angels would probably be in a better position to contend. While he has 15 homers and has started to hit with more pop as of late, Hamilton is still hitting a measly .223 with an on-base percentage of only .277. He acknowledged that he has been part of the problem.

“Obviously it would help if I could pick it up, but overall, it’s not like we’re going out there laying down,” Hamilton said.

To make matters worse, Albert Pujols is likely headed to the disabled list after re-injuring his foot, which he previously stated may need surgery in the offseason. With only 60 games remaining, it may already be too late for LA to make a playoff run. Given the hype that surrounded the team heading into the season, anything less than a wild card berth would be a major disappointment.

Josh Hamilton chewing tobacco again, has gone on hitting streak

Josh Hamilton has finally shown signs of breaking out of a season-long slump for the Los Angeles Angels, and the chatter around Angel Stadium is that his hot streak coincides with his decision to resume his habit of chewing tobacco.

Hamilton is batting .223 on the season with 82 strikeouts in 79 games. His OPS, which is currently .672, has never been higher than .743 at any point in the season. He has been moved down in the lineup and given off days, but nothing helped.

Presently, Hamilton is on a 7-game hitting streak, which is his longest of the season and also coincides with the Angels’ 7-game winning streak. Hamilton is 10 for his last 25 (.400) with four doubles, four RBIs, and four walks. The image below shows him packing a huge wad of tobacco in his cheek during Sunday’s game, in which he went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI double:

Josh Hamilton tobacco

Could Hamilton’s hitting streak have to do with him resuming his tobacco habit?

The Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna says Hamilton began chewing tobacco again at the beginning of the team’s last road trip, which is when both streaks began. Hamilton skirted the issue when DiGiovanna asked him about a possible correlation.

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Josh Hamilton may have saved four runs with two awesome catches (Video)

Josh-Hamilton-catchJosh Hamilton has done a poor job of helping the Los Angels Angels score runs this season, but he did a tremendous job of preventing them on Saturday night. The right-fielder made two phenomenal catches during a 7-2 win over the Houston Astros.

In the fourth inning, Hamilton made a great catch at the wall with runners on first and third and two out. The ball had a chance to leave the park and was at least going to hit the wall, so Hamilton either robbed a home run to save three runs or took a double away to save two.

Then, with the Angels protecting a 5-2 lead in the fifth, Hamilton reached over the wall and took a solo homer away from Matt Dominguez.

Hamilton is hitting .221 and has only 10 homers and 28 RBI, so the Angels need him to find other ways to help the club at the moment. Considering he recently had a historically horrible night at the plate, two spectacular catches may be just what the doctor ordered.

Josh Hamilton reaches low point with terrible night at the plate for Angels

Josh HamiltonIf Los Angeles Angels fans were waiting for Josh Hamilton to hit rock bottom so he could start turning his season around, he may have done so on Tuesday night. At least, the team is hoping that turns out to be the case.

Hamilton, who signed a five-year, $125 million contract with LA this past offseason, has been horrendous in his first season with his new team. He is batting just .213 with 10 homers and only 24 RBI. It got worse on Tuesday.

Hamilton went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners, but he accounted for many more outs than just his own. He also left seven runners on base and tied the Angels’ franchise record by grounding into three double plays in a single game. As Eye on Baseball pointed out, Hamilton became only the second player since 1916 to go hitless, strike out twice, and ground into three double plays in a game.

Those aren’t exactly the types of records the Angels were hoping their new slugger would set. Leaving seven runners on base and grounding into three double plays is obviously abysmal, but it stings even more on a night where LA lost by only a run. The Angels are 31-40 and 11 games out of first in the AL West, and Hamilton’s inability to get anything going is a major reason why.

We don’t want to overreact, but if the 32-year-old can’t turn things around at some point in the near future his contract will become an absolute nightmare for the Angels.

Josh Hamilton getting booed at home

Josh HamiltonJosh Hamilton already dealt with being booed on the road to start the season, and now he’s hearing the boos at home, too.

Hamilton was booed on Friday night during the Angels’ 4-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Hamilton DHd and batted fifth, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Multiple people noted that he was getting booed during the night, and OC Register sports intern Sam Strong says the boos got worse each time he came up hitless.

Hamilton has struggled to start the season and Angels fans are growing impatient with his and the team’s struggles. Since homering in back-to-back games against Houston on April 13 and 14 for his only dingers of the season, Hamilton has not had an extra-base hit. He’s also struck out 22 times and only walked twice since the 14th.

Hamilton was not in the lineup on Saturday and likely given the day off to collect himself. He took extra batting practice before the game and worked on his timing.

One of Hamilton’s biggest issues is how poor his approach has been. The guy regularly gets fooled by offspeed stuff and seriously looks sometimes like he has never seen a breaking ball before in his life. When he was struggling with the Texas Rangers last year, Nolan Ryan said he was chasing pitches and giving away at-bats. That’s pretty much been the story this year.

Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron wrote an article about Hamilton on Tuesday and said the slugger was “swinging himself into oblivion.” The article noted that Hamilton is chasing pitches outside the strike zone nearly 45 percent of the time. That statistical data certainly corresponds with the visual evidence. In order to turn around his season, Hamilton needs to curb his hack-happy approach.

Josh Hamilton makes mental mistake on bases for last out of game

Josh HamiltonJosh Hamilton committed a mental blunder to end the Angels’ 5-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night that just shows where the team’s disappointing season is right now.

Hamilton was on first with one out in the bottom of the ninth and Mark Trumbo at the plate. Trumbo popped up a ball between home and third in foul territory. Hamilton started trotting toward second and casually making his way toward third thinking that the pop out would end the game. Instead, Astros catcher Jason Castro made the catch in foul ground and threw to first to get Hamilton on the double play to end the game.

“That’s a mental mistake,” manager Mike Scioscia said, via the LA Daily News. “As perfect as players try to play, as hard as they try to play, unfortunately mental mistakes are going to creep into the scenario. We’ve seen it, guys on other teams. And Josh is accountable. He knows he messed up.”

The Angels aren’t pitching well, they’re not hitting well, and they’re losing. If there is one thing you would hope they could do properly it’s not make simple mistakes on the bases, but this is just kind of where they are.

The Angels are now 2-8, which is the worst record in the American League. Jered Weaver got hurt, Erick Aybar is hurt, and the team’s ERA is over five. And they can’t even keep track of the outs. What the heck is going on in Anaheim? This is ridiculous.

Joe Nathan says Josh Hamilton egged Rangers fans on in Texas

Josh-Hamilton-RangersJosh Hamilton’s first series at the Ballpark in Arlington as a member of the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend went pretty much as scheduled. Texas Rangers fans booed him mercilessly and pretended to be reading newspapers while he was introduced. Then, there was reportedly an incident where Hamilton’s wife and children needed to request additional security because some Rangers fans were being particularly nasty.

Overall, it was nothing anyone with a little common sense would not have seen coming. However, it is interesting to note that Texas closer Joe Nathan felt that Hamilton antagonized the fans a bit.

“I think him being more vocal than he should have been may have created more hype and more hostility,” Nathan told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on MLB Radio Network Monday, via The Dallas Morning News. “If he had been quieter, I think this weekend might not have been hyped as much. He egged them on a little, playing with them. … It’s a shame. I hope it’s not like this every time he comes into town.”

Over the winter, Hamilton said that Dallas was not a true baseball town and that he thought the fans had become a little “spoiled” during his time with the Rangers. That certainly didn’t help matters. Hamilton was going to be booed loudly no matter what he said leading up to his first visit in Texas, but engaging the fans is never a good idea. If Hamilton was interacting with fans who were giving him a hard time as Nathan seemed to imply that he was, he certainly deserves some of the blame for the hostility he was shown.