Most Major League ball clubs look at spring training as a way to stretch their limbs having hibernated over the long, harsh winter. Spring is a time for every team to look to the future and forget about the past, each team having been given a clean plate for the upcoming season.
The Angels are finding out, they still have a lot of spring cleaning to do.
As of Monday, the team is 0-4, having been outscored 31-16 with their most recent loss coming on the wrong side of a walk-off to Seattle.
That game started off well for the Angels, but did not finish nearly as strong. The Mariners fell behind early, but the Angels’ bullpen faltered; this is nothing new to the Halo faithful.
Hank Conger went 3-3 with 5 RBI, three of them coming in the first inning via long ball. The Angels eventually took a 7-2 lead into the 7th inning stretch, but that’s where the bolts started to come loose.
Mark Sappington gave up four earned runs in the 8th inning, which tied the game at 8. And in the bottom of the ninth, Seattle’s Julio Morban drove in Francisco Martinez to end the ballgame. The Mariners scored seven runs in the final three innings.
Now, of course, this early in the season, let’s be honest: games don’t really matter. I mean, how many of the names you just read (aside from Conger) did you actually recognize?
In the team’s defense (or perhaps, offense), they did put up 14 hits. Phenom Mike Trout made his debut Monday (he went 1-2 and scored twice) and the highly anticipated debut of slugger Josh Hamilton will follow today against the Diamondbacks’ split-squad.
The Halos don’t need to panic just yet, but they certainly shouldn’t be excited about their sluggish start. In their spring training opener, they were dominated by the Chicago Cubs, 11-2.
Angels fans need not worry about this start either. They will not go 0-34 in spring training and I also recall an Angels team in 2002 starting the regular season 6-14. Spring training is designed to give teams time to learn their strengths and weaknesses. Bottom line: the Angels would rather lose now than in April or September.