Struggling lineup in need of reboot
Scioscia has ideas in mind to recharge Angels hitters
ANAHEIM -- Manager Mike Scioscia is counting lineups, not sheep, as he tries to get some sleep after another fitful, if not fruitless, night at the ballpark.
Propped up by superior pitching and an airtight defense, the Angels have continued to win enough games to retain their grip on the American League West race. But Scioscia wonders when his big hitters will start hitting the right notes together and start stringing together some crooked numbers.
Allowances are made for Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick, vital components returning from long absences with hamstring issues. Of more concern is the inconsistency from the heart of the order -- Garret Anderson, Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and Casey Kotchman.
Guerrero has come alive as of late, hitting .429 in his first 10 games of June with three homers and seven RBIs after a dismal .219 in May. Guerrero is waiting for Anderson and Hunter to start pounding it, in what could be one of the game's most deadly threesomes in the 3-4-5 spots.
Anderson, after a .343 May, took a .140 June average with one homer and three RBIs into Monday night's assignment against Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey. Kotchman (.222) and Hunter (.212) also have struggled. Hunter, with two homers and seven RBIs, has delivered some muscle, and Kotchman's two-run homer decided Sunday's game against the Braves.
"I can't wait until we all get it going like we can," Hunter said. "And we will. It's going to be a lot of fun when we start raking together."
Scioscia said he contemplated moving Kotchman into the No. 3 spot, shared most of the season by Anderson and Guerrero. But the manager likes Kotchman, a .298 career hitter with runners in scoring position, behind Guerrero.
"Kotch is one of the best hitters we have with runners in scoring position," Scioscia said. "Vlad, when he's hot, is going to be one of our best on-base-percentage guys. Connected with Vlad, behind Vlad, is a good spot for Kotch right now."
Scioscia said he'd like to get Kendrick back in the top third of the order when he regains his stroke. A .307 career hitter, Kendrick is scuffling (11-for-57, .193) since returning to the lineup after missing seven weeks.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.