Monday, April 22, 2013
Josh Hamilton struggling as Rangers arrive
By Richard Durrett
It has not been the kind of start Josh Hamilton had hoped for in an Angels uniform. But really, it's been a continuation of the struggles he had to finish the 2012 season. I don't think I need to revisit how things ended for Hamilton. We all remember the Oakland game, the AL wild-card game and the long stretch before that where he never really did find a consistent rhythm.
But as he prepares to face his former team for the second time this season -- and the first in Anaheim -- Hamilton is still trying to find any sense of a groove. He's hitting .176 this season and has 23 strikeouts in 68 at-bats.
And other teams are noticing. Did you see what the Detroit Tigers did in a tie game in the 12th inning yesterday? They walked Albert Pujols to get to Hamilton with two outs, putting the winning run on intentionally. And three pitches later -- all 4-seam fastballs from Phil Coke -- Hamilton was back in the dugout. It wasn't that long ago that the Yankees couldn't stop intentionally walking Hamilton in the ALCS out of fear. Now the guy in front of him is getting walked. Times have changed.
The LA Times reports that Hamilton has looked at video of his April from last year to see if there are any differences. He was on his way to player of the month honors in the AL at this time last year. But honestly, I'm not sure that will reveal much. Hamilton is a free swinger and he was swinging freely last April and May. But he was hitting those pitches and not missing any mistakes. He's struggling to do that so far this year.
The Angels are coming off a sweep of the Tigers and are feeling better, but they are still looking for Hamilton to get going. In that same LA Times article, Mike Scioscia doesn't answer directly whether he's thinking about dropping Hamilton in the order. Interesting.
We'll see how Hamilton responds this week as the Rangers play three against the Angels, starting tonight.