Angels GM says Manager Mike Scioscia ‘has done a great job’
The Angels’ poor record — 51-70 entering Friday night’s game against the New York Yankees — has thrust Mike Scioscia’s name into recent stories speculating on what managers might be fired, but the temperature under the seat of baseball’s longest-tenured manager might not be as hot as some think.
“I have no reason to believe Mike wouldn’t be here managing our team next season,” General Manager Billy Eppler said. “I think he’s done a great job. He’s dealt with multiple plates of adversity and handled them with energy and passion. He’s kept guys optimistic, driven, and I think that’s the mark of a good leader.”
The Angels lost their two best starting pitchers, right-hander Garrett Richards and left-hander Andrew Heaney, to season-ending elbow injuries, Heaney after his first start of the season and Richards in early May.
Left-hander C.J. Wilson has missed the entire season because of a shoulder injury, left-hander Tyler Skaggs didn’t return from elbow surgery until late July, and right-hander Nick Tropeano was one of the team’s more effective starters before he went down with a season-ending elbow injury in mid-July.
The two pitchers Eppler acquired to plug rotation spots struggled, Tim Lincecum going 2-6 with a 9.16 earned-run average in nine starts before being demoted to triple-A in early August, and Jhoulys Chacin going 2-6 with a 6.10 ERA.
Closer Huston Street, slowed by rib-cage and knee injuries, has a career-worst 6.45 ERA in 26 games, and setup man Joe Smith was slowed by a hamstring injury before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 1.
The Angels got virtually no production out of the left-field platoon of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry, who were both designated for assignment on July 30, and first baseman C.J. Cron and catcher Geovany Soto have missed significant time this season because of injuries.
Scioscia, who has two years and $12 million remaining on his contract, led the Angels to the 2002 World Series championship and seven playoff appearances since 2000, but the injury ravaged rotation left him with little to work with this season.
“I go back to something Ernie Zampese told me when I was 11 years old,” Eppler said, referring to the former San Diego Chargers and Rams offensive coordinator. “He always said, ‘You have to have the horses to pull the cart. So if your horses get injured or can’t pull the cart for a little while … you can only do so much.”
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