Should the Angels be Concerned with all of their Mistakes?

Updated: May 2, 2017

There are many different opinions of what makes a good manager good. Is it strategic? Is it managing egos and personalities? Managing your pitching staff? Putting your players in the best position to succeed? Having a team that plays smart and limits mistakes? If it’s that last metric, than the Angels are off to a rough start. Over the past few years, the Angels have consistently created outs on the base paths, and played sloppy defense in crucial moments. Last season, the Angels improved defensively, but still struggled on the base paths. This year the Angels are even better defensively, but still seem to lack focus at times. Is that on the manager?

Either way, this past week was full of examples of a team that just seems to flat out not pay attention at inopportune times. Even the best player in baseball is not immune, as Trout was doubled off of second running on a pop out he had no business running on, and casually tossing a ball to the infield that allowed Elvis Andrus to stretch a routine single into a double. There was a moment where a player was not tagging up on a fly ball that was eventually caught by Nomar Mazara, and when he fell the player was unable to come home when he easily could have scored.

There are so many more examples of this, like Yunel Escobar attempting to steal third with runners on first and second and nobody out and getting thrown out easily, but my favorite example came against the Athletics and Kendall Graveman. Thanks to extremely sloppy baserunning, Graveman turned an unassisted double play at third (!) when Cliff Pennington inexplicably tried to take third while Graveman was standing on the bag with the ball in his hand. Just watch it. These kinds of mistakes seem to happen far more often than they should, to the point where almost every game you’re putting your head in your hands wondering what a player was thinking.

So, if it happens consistently with multiple players, is it on the coaching staff? The answer is probably yes, and part of it is by design. Mike Scioscia coaches his players to be aggressive on the base paths, but at some point, you have to also coach them to make smart decisions. That seems to be a struggle at times for the Halos. The Angels won all but one of those games, anyway, so maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it was just bad timing, as the bad decisions all happened at once to make the mistakes seem bigger. The Angels probably don’t need to be concerned just yet, but if it’s something that continues to happen, then it’s something that will need to be addressed.

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