ANAHEM, Calif. — With the Angels tying their worst start in franchise history — an 11-20 record matching the futility of their 1961 inaugural season — manager Mike Scioscia’s future with the club has come into question.
A fired-up Scioscia wants to make it clear — he’s not interested in bailing out.
“I’ve never quit, given up or anything else like that in my career,” the Halos’ manager said after an 8-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. “I’m certainly not going to start now.
“We’re going to turn this thing around and have the type of season we expected to have when we went to spring training.”
If you are among those critics hoping a horrible start would be enough to wear Scioscia or Moreno down into a rash decision, think again. Scioscia has a contract that runs through the 2018 season and is going nowhere of his own volition.
And with Moreno said to be out of the country on business, it’s unlikely that Halo management will be replacing its manager in the near future.
Scioscia, for his part, continues to believe in the team put together by general Jerry Dipoto.
“I think the upside potential of this club is better than it was a year ago,” said Scioscia, who is in his 14th year of managing the team. “The depth of our club will start to prove how good we are as we get healthy and get into the middle of May.
“There’s still plenty of time for us to reach our goal.”
And with the nearly half-billion dollars Moreno committed to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and CJ Wilson since the winter of 2011, the goal is nothing less than the World Series. Despite reaching the playoffs six times in 13 years under Scioscia, the Angels have managed to get to — and win – -just one World Series. They’ve missed the post-season for three straight years, and there’s pressure throughout the organization to end the streak in 2013.
“We all play the game to win — and win championships,” Scioscia said, “and nobody is more frustrated than (the players and coaches) in that clubhouse.But we’ve had injuries to key players we’ve had to deal with and once we’re healthy we’re going to be a very good baseball team.
“Injuries aren’t an excuse — they’re part of the game. But when you lose a Jered Weaver, a Ryan Madson, and Erick Aybar and a Peter Bourjos, it definitely changes the dynamic of your team. It’s frustrating, sure,but you can see that this team hasn’t hit stride yet, and one of the things that keeps me going is making sure this team does hit stride as quickly as possible.
“The last two Aprils have been very tough for us, and last year it cost us. Hopefully this year we can absorb the slow start.”
But is it more than just a slow start or an injury plague? After nearly a decade and a half at the helm, have the players stopped responding to the coaching staff? Scioscia doesn’t think so and believes he’s still the manager to get the Angels on the right track and headed toward the World Series again.
“I still have as much passion for this team and this game as I ever have,” he responded quickly. “If that ever changes, no body from the media or management will have to come and tell me.I’d know it and I’d be the one to move on first.
“But it’s not even close to that. I love the game and I love managing the Angels every bit as much as that first game in 2000. I don’t see that changing any time soon.”