The Curious Case of Jerome Williams
It’s easy to see when Los Angeles Angels sometimes starter, sometimes long reliever Jerome Williams is on a roll. The game moves at a blistering pace, with Williams quickly putting two strikes up on each batter before producing a ground ball or a punchout with his sinkerball. It’s even easier to see when he is off his game. Everything is slowed down to a crawl, shoulders slumped downward as Williams takes laborious breaths between pitches while he paces around the mound. These things often fluctuate within the same game, making all the difference between a quality start and a backbreaking, confidence shaking home run given up by the pink gloved pitcher.
This wouldn’t be so bad if manager Mike Scioscia hadn’t chronically mismanaged Williams last season. Oftentimes either leaving Williams in for too long or yanking him right in the middle of a solid stretch for the enigmatic pitcher. This caused the back end of the Halos rotation to become a glaring weakness for the team during the stretch run, playing a huge factor in the team missing the playoffs in shocking fashion.
With the Angels rotation facing such pressing issues as injuries, rust, and the plague that is known as Joe Blanton it is more than likely that Jerome Williams will find himself back starting games for the Angels sooner rather than later. When that time comes it will be up to Mike Scioscia to coerce every solid inning out of Williams that he can. After being bounced around and being out of the league for four seasons, the Angels need to strike while the iron is hot and they have him locked up for bargain bin price of 1 million dollars for this coming season.
The onus is on Scioscia to build the confidence of Williams on a day to day basis, and see the signs that the pitcher is showing as the game wears on and make the right choice for both him and the team as the season progresses. If Jerome Williams is able to stay out of his own head long enough and Mike Scioscia can manage him effectively, he will be a key catalyst for the Angels has they attempt to make a playoff push in 2013.