Tensions High With Los Angeles Angels, But Mike Scioscia Not In Trouble ... Yet

By Thom Tsang
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not too much is going right with the very expensive collective of baseball players known as the Los Angeles Angels these days.

The 4-10 team is once again in the middle of a losing streak, and is sitting fourth in the American League West division that they were supposed to contend for all season long. Their offense still hasn’t quite come around (ranked 18th with 23 runs over the last seven days from Thursday), and their pitching is, in a word, putrid.

With a 6.07 ERA from their starters, these Halos are falling behind consistently, and their offense simply hasn’t been able to bail them out.

How bad can it get from here? Well, anytime you hear about a managerial change potentially coming into play for a MLB team, that’s a pretty solid sign that things are getting dire. That goes doubly true when it comes to Mike Scioscia, who has been managing the Angels since the beginning of time (or 2000).

But if anyone is going to be the saviour in Los Angeles, it sure won’t be Tony La Russa, who has gone out of his way to tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the “industry speculation” of him potentially replacing Scioscia are entirely unfounded.

In fact, not only is there no chance of the former skipper taking the helm with the Angels, there’s no chance of him doing so with any other team, as he simply said “I’m not going to manage again … I’m going to work for a team someday. But it won’t be managing.”

Okay, sounds unequivocal enough. But, if saying “the truth is, there is and cannot be anything to this.” doesn’t quite hammer home the point, La Russa is even thinking about cancelling his trip out west to watch his friends Albert Pujols, Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski if that’s what it’ll take to quell the rumors.

To be fair, even in the hypothetical situation in which Scioscia was let go, there’s likely little that a new manager, La Russa or not, could end up doing with the Angels. Managers go as their talents go, and there hasn’t exactly been any hints of a Boston Red Sox-style (circa 2012) mess going on there.

Sure, maybe putting Mike Trout — who might be the league’s best leadoff hitter, if not best player overall — at the No. 2 spot is somewhat questionable, but for the most part, it’s the talent, and especially the pitching in this case, that has failed the Angels thus far.

And as much as one might want to imagine that a manager can simply inspire them to pitch better, well, that’s to imagine a whole lot of influence that should belong to the player and the pitching coach.

I mean, if only Scioscia could have told Jered Weaver not to break his elbow …

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