The Los Angeles Angels fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher this week after Albert Pujols and many of his teammates got off to dismal offensive starts. A 12-year major league veteran as a player, Hatcher served as the Angels’ hitting coach during their only World Series title run in 2002.
“Offensively we have underachieved, and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement.
That’s putting it mildly for a ball club with one of the majors’ highest payrolls and enormous expectations after adding Pujols and his $240 million contract. Pujols is hitting .212 with one home run and 14 RBIs (and that after three hits Tuesday). Ichiro has that many home runs and 13 RBIs.
Interesting is that the Mariners, half a game back of the Angels in the AL West heading into Wednesday’s games, have made no move to fire anyone (player or coach) even though their numbers are similar to the Angels almost across the board.
This is how the Angels and Mariners batting numbers compare entering Wednesday’s play:
|Category||Angels / Rank||Mariners / Rank||Seattle Skinny|
|At Bats||1236/8||1277/3||Ichiro 152, Ackley 145, Smoak 130|
|Runs||134/12||136/11||Ackley 18, Ichiro 17, Ryan 16|
|Hits||309/6||297/12||Ichiro 45, Ackley 36, Seager 33|
|Doubles||58/9||62/7||Seager 10, Saunders 9, Ichiro 8|
|Triples||3/12||5/9||Ichiro 2, Ackley 1, Figgins 1|
|HR||32/10||32/10||Montero 5, 3 tied with 4|
|BA||.250/7||.233/13||Ichiro .296, Seager .275, Montero .256|
|OBP||.301/12||.287/14||Ichiro, .337, Ackley .314|
|SLG||.379/11||.364/12||Seager .458, Montero .411|
|OPS||.680/11||.651/13||Seager .751, Ichiro .732|
|RISP||.253||.228||Liddi .429, Seager .414, Jaso .357|
Unlike the Angels, the Mariners are loaded with young hitters, and Seattle is not a franchise with many, if any, expectations. Still, the Mariners are reaching the point where they will be forced to make moves with some of their veterans, particularly Chone Figgins (.188 BA) and Brendan Ryan (.140 BA), if matters don’t improve appreciably soon.
In recent Mariners’ history, May-June are traditionally heavy “designated for assignment” months.