Scioscia cancels batting practice before Wednesday night's game vs. Marlins
The combination of Tuesday's 1-for-15 performance with runners in scoring position, a heat index of 95 degrees in South Florida and this being the ninth game of a 12-game, 14-day trip prompted Manager Mike Scioscia to cancel batting practice on the field before the Angels' game against the Marlins on Wednesday night.
"When you're struggling on offense, the first course of action is to work harder, and we've exhausted that," Scioscia said. "It's been a long trip, these guys have worked extremely hard, they're ready to play. I don't think we're going to get so much out of game prep today that would offset just trying to clear their minds and come out here a little fresher mentally."
Scioscia tried a similar tack after a sluggish 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on June 7, canceling batting practice before the next game, a rarity when the Angels are home. The Angels had only eight hits and went two for 13 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rays the following day, part of a stretch in which the Angels lost eight of nine games.
The Angels won two of three games in Seattle to start this trip, they won two of three games against the Mets in New York, and if they win Wednesday night, they'll have won two of three games against the Marlins. But the Angels enter with a 36-39 record and can't seem to shake the feeling that they remain underachievers.
"There's definitely an element of frustration in that clubhouse that we're getting over but that we deal with every day," Scioscia said. "Everyone knows we should be playing at a higher level on a consistent basis, and when you're not, there's definitely a need to try to defuse some of that.
"But we have a lot of guys in that room who have done what we anticipated. There's another group that has woefully underproduced, and there's some frustration with the consistency of our club. But as far as guys playing hard and coming out and getting ready to play, these guys have been inspiring."
Scioscia was asked if some players have been too hard on themselves, causing them to remain mired in a funk.
"There are definitely some guys who, when frustration gets the best of them, are trying to hit a three-run home run with nobody on, trying to strike everyone out on an 0-0 pitch. At times, guys are trying to be Superman. Our best games are when we get contributions from up and down the lineup and not rely on one guy going five for five with three home runs."
The Angels lineup: 3B Maicer Izturis, SS Erick Aybar, RF Torii Hunter, LF Bobby Abreu, CF Vernon Wells, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Mark Trumbo, C Hank Conger, P Joel Pineiro.
The Marlins lineup: CF Emilio Bonifacio, LF Logan Morrison, 1B Gaby Sanchez, SS Hanley Ramirez, 3B Greg Dobbs, RF Mike Stanton, C John Buck, 2B Omar Infante, P Brian Sanches.
--Mike DiGiovanna in Miami
Photo: Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Credit: Otto Greule Jr. /Getty Images