Monday, May 31, 2010

By Bruce Nye - Columnist

Once again the Angels find themselves looking at a bad poker hand and are wondering how to play it. Clearly, today’s problem is not even close to last year’s tragic loss of Nick Adenhart, but the loss of the Angels’ best hitter this past weekend hurts and it hurts bad.

The team is built around pitching, defense and hitting (in that order) and so far we haven’t seen much of either. There have been moments to remind us that this is the highly successful Angels organization that has won the AL West in each of the last three years, but those moments have been few and far between.

Is it time to pick up the ball and go home? Hardly. We all remember the lousy start to the 2002 season and look how that turned out. We all remember last year with most of the starting rotation out until June. We all remember the tragedies that have beset this team over the years and the one constant has been resiliency. Personally, I have never seen a team more resilient than the Angels.

So once again the organization will be put to the test. The front office needs to decide if the answers lie within or outside of the Angels current personnel. Mike Scioscia and his coaches have to decide who best can get it done and move the pieces around to make a better fit.

But more importantly, it is time for the players themselves to step up and take over. Kazmir and Pineiro must provide more consistency. The bullpen, thought to be the strongest this team has ever seen must begin to deliver. The team defense has been sloppy with misplays in the corner outfield positions. The catchers must improve on their throws. The offense has too be on the other end of spectrum from where they are now. Instead of being near the bottom of offensive categories, they need to rise toward the top. It was only last August when the team had nine .300 hitters in the same lineup.

The question is: Can they do it? The answer is yes. The Angels can and will win the AL West. Yesterday’s come from behind win can provide the fuel. Prior to this weekend, the Angels had not once won a game when trailing in the 7th inning. That statistic has been changed with two come from behind thrilling victories on Saturday and Sunday.

Love to hear what you think!

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