Scuffling lineup seeks consistent production
DETROIT -- During a rout on Friday, the Angels scored 11 runs and notched 10 extra-base hits. During back-to-back losses on Saturday and Sunday, they combined for three runs on 11 hits.
Inconsistency like that is to be expected from a lineup that will be without its two corner outfielders, leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun and cleanup hitter Josh Hamilton, until at least mid-May. But the issue is compounded with newcomers David Freese and Raul Ibanez batting a combined .145.
Freese went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Sunday, lowering his slash line to .143/.197/.196, and Ibanez struck out against Joe Nathan while pinch-hitting for Freese with the tying run on first and two outs in the ninth, lowering his slash line to .148/.212/.311.
"I think they're going to give us what they can give us -- doesn't necessarily have to be power, but in the production," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's some guys that just aren't on track right now."
If right, Ibanez and Freese would both make up the middle of the lineup along with Albert Pujols.
Because they're not, non-roster invitee Ian Stewart batted fourth on Sunday and the left-handed-hitting Ibanez sat against an opposing starter -- Rick Porcello -- who has struggled against lefties his entire career.
Scioscia went into the season realistically hopeful of having a stable lineup throughout the year, but has used five different batting orders in the last five games. And until Calhoun (sprained right ankle) and Hamilton (left thumb surgery) return, he'll have to continue to mix and match.
"If you look at Raul, you look at David Freese, you look at some guys that are off to a little bit of a slower start, Erick [Aybar] -- these guys are much better hitters," Scioscia said. "I think that's going to come around. We need that depth.
"Obviously we can't create the depth and the power missing those two guys, but we should be able to get enough good groupings to where we're doing what we need to do on the offensive end."