All signs say that the Angels are toast. Sweep out the stadium and turn off the lights.
People with tickets for upcoming games should bring beach balls and start the wave, because that's about the most fun they'll have at the Big A the rest of the way. These aren't baseball games. They are parades of men in red uniforms, walking to the plate and, a minute or so later, walking back.
Our headline writers captured it perfectly this week: "Angels Bats Rest Again." And: "Hits Keep On Not Coming."
These guys are good. The headline writers, not the Angels.
This isn't baseball. It's a soap opera. As The Manager Squirms.
You watch Mike Scioscia in the dugout at these nightly funerals, his expression seldom changing as he keeps everything inside, and you wonder whether he doesn't have a room at home where he goes every night and breaks furniture.
This team has been a model of consistency. It consistently fails in key spots — Erick Aybar in one game last week grounded out and struck out, each time with the bases loaded. It has left so many runners stranded that owner Arte Moreno ought to start an orphanage. When the going gets tough, these guys strike out.
They can't even remember how many outs there are — Aybar again. Notice who sat the next game after that mental lapse. Scioscia probably has a piece of furniture at home named Erick.
Kendry Morales got hurt and Brandon Wood didn't hit, but the world didn't end, just the Angels' ability to get anything going. They've got an inspirational leader who practices what he preaches, but you wonder whether there is anybody left for Torii Hunter to preach to. This team isn't always terrible, just in streaks of three or four games.
That makes them about a .490 team, puts them nearly in double-digit arrears in mid-August in the Texas-laugher AL West race, and makes one wonder where all the great expectations came from. Probably local sportswriters. Numbskulls. Blame them.
Speaking of local sportswriters, the Angels have made T.J. Simers look good. He wrote that they were boring, and, so far, he is right. He was also right about something in 1999, so he has that every-other-decade thing going.
This is an example of what the Angels have wrought. Tuesday night, they were being thumped by Tampa Bay in the ninth, 10-3, and Hideki Matsui came to bat with the bases loaded. In the broadcast booth, where hope springs eternal about that which issues the paychecks, Terry Smith, to his credit, kept trying.
"With one swing of the bat," Smith told his listeners, "this game could be 10-7."
This team could make psychologists talk to themselves. Case in point, Wednesday's 12-3 victory over Tampa Bay, which had led the lambs to slaughter the previous two days. Howie Kendrick had five hits, Mike Napoli had six RBIs. A lot of Angels haven't had weeks that good.
So far, this team has been like a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem. When they are good, they are very, very good. But when they are bad, they are horrid.
Surprisingly, even to this typist, there is a "but" in there somewhere. The fat lady isn't singing quite yet.
The schedule allows a chance for a last gasp, starting with Friday night's game at the Big A. That was the first of three against the Baltimore Orioles, followed by three against Seattle, three against Oakland, three against Cleveland, three more against Seattle and three more against Cleveland. Baltimore, Seattle and Cleveland are all dead last in their respective divisions. That's 15 games against lousy teams and three against semi-lousy Oakland, which is currently playing musical chairs with the Angels for second in the AL West.
Coming after that is the oft-referenced seven games in the last two weeks of the season against the Rangers, who, if trends continue, will have their flights booked for the playoffs by then.
But were the Angels to fatten up in these next three weeks, as their talent level once indicated, the last two weeks might be fun again. They might even force the Rangers to play their first string.
If not, the only baseball story in Anaheim, right up until April of next year, will be how much and how effectively General Manager Tony Reagins cleans house.
By then, Scioscia should certainly be in the mood to throw out some broken pieces of furniture.