UPDATE: The Los Angeles Angels announced Monday that Brad Ausmus would be discharged as field manager of the team after a 90-loss season. Speculation is widespread that Joe Maddon, who has previously served as a coach for the Angels, would be the likely successor.
By Pete Zarustica
“Quite frankly, I’m ready at this point to put it behind me,” Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “It was a tough year.”
That understatement followed the Halos’ 8-5 loss to the Houston Astros on Sunday, which finished the team’s 2019 season with a 72-90 record, the worst in a generation.
Against the Astros – arguably the best team in baseball – the Orange County entry fell behind 8-1 after five innings and late rallies were not enough.
It was a disappointing season, to be sure, and not all of the blame can be laid at the feet of first-year manager Ausmus. The lineup was frequently perforated by injuries. Key players like Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Tommy LaStella, Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani were sidelined with injuries for small and large parts of the season.
But all teams have injuries and most manage to avoid near-collapse. In Mike Scioscia’s final year as field manager, critics said that his departure would be a blessing. The argument ran this way: he had been in charge for so long that players stopped listening to him.
What the Angels need for a better 2020 is a long list, beginning with “have better luck.” The Halos have good power, but don’t bat especially well with runners in scoring position.
The pitching roster – from rotation and bullpen – is a mess and the search is no doubt already on for some free agent stars and talent that’s been overlooked.
As for Ausmus, it’s probably unfair to show him the door after just one season. But fans – and perhaps top management – will give him just one more campaign to show dramatic improvement.
A winning season is the standard, or folks will start talking about the “good old days” of 2014, when Scioscia was still in the dugout.