In the wake of another defeat, with the Angels off to their worst start in franchise history and this season looking bleak, Manager Mike Scioscia had to answer questions Tuesday night about his future.
“You’re always being evaluated,” Scioscia said.
“From the first time you’re in this position, you’re evaluated. I’m not uncomfortable being evaluated at all.
“It doesn’t change anything as far as what I would do or what we as a staff would do on a daily basis. I don’t even think about it.”
In a season that already has seen the firings of three managers, there is no indication Scioscia’s job is in immediate danger. But the Angels started the season with high expectations, and Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners left the Angels 101/2 games out of first place, with a 6-14 record that is the worst in franchise history after 20 games. They have also lost all six games to the Mariners.
This is not exactly what Disney had in mind when it boosted the Angels’ payroll to a record $60 million. At a January ceremony to unveil the new logo and uniforms, Paul Pressler, the Disney executive running the Angels and Mighty Ducks, publicly challenged Scioscia to deliver October baseball to Anaheim.
Scioscia said he would operate in coming days as he has in the past, with faith that the Angels have the talent to climb into contention and without making short-term moves designed to strengthen his hold on his job.
“That has absolutely no bearing on what we’re going to do here day to day,” Scioscia said. “We still believe in this club.”
The club was not good enough to survive one misplay Tuesday.
Ramon Ortiz was magnificent in defeat. He threw the Angels’ first complete game of the season, allowing only five hits and striking out eight without giving up an earned run.
Only once did a Seattle runner advance past second base, but once was enough. Mark McLemore, whose grand slam Monday buried the Angels, foiled them again Tuesday.
With one out in the fifth inning, McLemore hit a drive between left fielder Orlando Palmeiro and center fielder Garret Anderson, an apparent double.
But McLemore never stopped running and shortstop David Eckstein hurried the relay throw to third base. As McLemore slid in headfirst, the throw bounced past Troy Glaus. Ortiz backed up, but the ball trickled between his legs. McLemore scrambled to his feet, hustled home and again slid headfirst to beat the throw from Ortiz.
McLemore was credited with a triple and Eckstein with the error. According to Scioscia, the Angels made three mistakes on the play--Eckstein should have held the ball, Glaus should have blocked the relay throw if he could not catch it and Ortiz should have blocked the loose ball if he could not catch it.
“There were three breakdowns on that play. That decided the ballgame,” Scioscia said.
That was because the Angels did nothing against Ryan Franklin, who made his first major league start.
Franklin retired 16 of the first 17 batters and gave up three hits over 52/3 innings before leaving to a standing ovation.
Glaus doubled to lead off the ninth inning, but he got no farther than third base.
Mariner closer Kazuhiro Sasaki threw two pitches that got away from catcher Dan Wilson, but only one got far enough away for Glaus to advance.
“If we’re looking for breaks to win baseball games, we’re in trouble,” Scioscia said.
“You’re not looking for breaks to win games. You’re looking to play the type of game that will absorb any bad breaks.”