Scioscia’s managing woes

Lately, it seems the only teams the Angels can beat are the Devil Rays and the Sox.  Matt Welch from mattwelch.com holds Mike Scioscia’s decisions to stick with unproductive veterans in the lineup partially responsible.  Two examples:  Steve Finley and Darin Erstad:

The other week, Angels manager Mike Scioscia could stand his team’s crappy offense no more, with the A’s threatening to run away with the division, so he finally removed the execrable Steve Finley from the starting lineup. The team eventually rallied a bit, regained ground from the A’s, and even finally scored some runs during a three-game sweep of the playoff-bound Chicago White Sox. Finley got back in the lineup and had a couple of hits. Scioscia, forgetting the poison that was choking him three weeks ago, put the spike back into his own neck, reinsterting Finley into the everyday lineup.

Meanwhile he stood behind another recent curious move: batting Darin Erstad — who has not slugged higher than .400 once in the last five years — fifth in the order, just behind reigning MVP Vladimir Guerrero. Erstad, Scioscia’s favorite player, is a hard-nosed gamer, brilliant defender at three positions … and consistently one of the worst-hitting first basemen in all of baseball.

I’ve always liked Erstad but have come to realize he doesn’t produce like he used to and well, the stats don’t lie.  As for Finley, this year has been a wash for him.  Hitting .218 with 10 homers this year, one wonders if his age (he turned 40 this year) is catching up to him.

But the bigger question here is whether Scioscia is mismanaging by playing favorites with his veterans.  I’m not one to go ’round second-guessing managers especially ones who have had post-season success but Welch’s article is food for thought.

Hat tip to Baseball Musings for the link, btw.

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