Tuesday brought more good news than bad news for the Los Angeles Angels. They beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0. Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs. But the Angels have still been struggling more than anybody expected them to struggle, and when teams with high expectations struggle, somebody usually ends up paying the price. Tuesday, somebody paid the price.
The #Angels have dismissed hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) May 16, 2012
Hatcher will be replaced by Jim Eppard, coming up from triple-A Salt Lake. But the story here isn't Jim Eppard. The story is Mickey Hatcher, or perhaps the story is why Mickey Hatcher is the story. It's so confusing!
A huge, huge, enormous problem for the Angels has been that Albert Pujols hasn't hit. Additionally, Erick Aybar hasn't hit, and Vernon Wells hasn't gotten any better, and Peter Bourjos hasn't hit either. Fans have been calling for Hatcher's head for weeks. But as always, we don't really know what hitting coaches do, and it stands to reason that Pujols' problem hasn't been the coaching instruction he's received. The sense, the obvious sense, is that Hatcher is the fall guy.
But maybe this is about the Angels needing a shake-up. Maybe the Angels decided they needed a new voice, and Hatcher had lasted long enough. One can only speculate as to the Angels' motivations, and as to whether or not this will do anything. The only thing we know for sure is that Mickey Hatcher isn't the Angels' hitting coach anymore. He's not the first hitting coach to be dismissed by an under-performing team, and he sure as hell won't be the last.