The Los Angeles Angels have somehow managed to get ahead of the Oakland Athletics by mere percentage points for the lead in the American League West standings. If they want to stay at the top and emerge as the division favorites, they will need slugger Josh Hamilton to get his act together. Unfortunately, it is his severe lack of confidence this season that is hurting the team.
“Josh is not the same as he was when we were looking in the other dugout in Texas,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said prior to Saturday’s matchup against the Rangers, according to ESPN. “Right now, he’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence that we know he has. He’s working hard to try to find it.”
Since joining Los Angeles in 2013, Hamilton’s numbers have taken a huge dive. It could be the change of scenery, different ballpark or age, but Hamilton is nowhere near the same player he used to be just a few years ago.
The career .292 hitter who has averaged 23.75 home runs and 83.38 RBI per season in his nearly eight-year career is batting .266 with eight homers and 35 RBI in 278 at-bats this season.
Hamilton’s career year in 2012 (.285 batting average, 43 home runs, 128 RBI) is something that is hard to repeat, especially with a new team. The Angels completely understand that. They did not sign him in free agency with the expectations of him cloning those numbers. With that said, they do expect him to rise to the occasion when the opportunity presents itself.
With roughly six weeks left in the season, the chance for Hamilton to prove his worth is upon us. The good news is he appears capable of climbing out of the funk that he has been in since spending two months on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his thumb. The bad news is batting .189 in August with just two home runs and three RBI is not a sign of good things to come.