Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, left, and Manager Mike Scioscia appear… (LM Otero / Associated Press…)
Most Angels fans are probably scratching their heads at Arte Moreno's decision to retain Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia, while firing bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard. Here's my take:
Picciolo must've been the guy who traded for Tommy Hanson and signed Joe Blanton as a free agent when real major league caliber pitchers were still available last off-season. Eppard must've been the guy who signed Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson, although both were injured and Madson would never pitch an inning of the 2013 season for the Angels. One or the other of the two coaches must've been the one who gushed to the media, when the season began, that the Angels would win because their offense would outslug the opposing team, while their stellar outfielders would climb walls to turn home runs into outs.
Arte holds his management folks to high levels of personal responsibility. So, obviously, Picciolo and Eppard have to atone for these miscues with their jobs. Why else would Arte fire a bench coach and a hitting coach when the most dire problem the Angels have is their lack of pitching?
So Mike Scioscia is retaining his job for 2014 but Don Mattingly isn't sure about his.
Apparently there are different standards in L.A. as compared to L.A. of Anaheim besides the silly name of the latter.
The Angels' shakeup of the coaching staff should have started with pitching coach Mike Butcher, whose only claim to success seems to be leading the league in visits to the mound in the most obvious of situations.
With the expected announcement that Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia will be back in 2014, Arte Moreno capped off the week with several other key business decisions. Bernie Madoff will remain in charge of investments and Rod Blagojevich and Anthony Weiner will head up his ethics and standards division. Enron will supply power, and all loans will go through Countrywide.
Also, Joe Blanton will start opening day.
What I learned from the TBS broadcast of the NL division series: The powerful Atlanta Braves played some overmatched, plucky team from somewhere in California.
TBS: Terrible Broadcast System.
Palos Verdes Estates
Juan Uribe's and Kenley Jansen's heroics in winning the division series were impressive. However, I couldn't help but think that Don Mattingly's original choices for their jobs were Luis Cruz and Brandon League.
Bill Plaschke finally got it right — and then wrong again. He was right in saying it was a very questionable decision to ask Juan Uribe, a notoriously poor bunter, to put himself in a two-strike hole once again because Don Mattingly, like his mentor, Joe Torre, is in love with sacrificing precious outs to move runners up a base.
But he was wrong to call the decision to start Clayton Kershaw on three days' rest a panic move. One, pitching Kershaw at home is a no-brainer. Two, ending it in four means we don't have to face the Braves' best pitcher, Kris Medlen, again. And three, Greinke's a pretty good backup in case we didn't win.
I wish Don Mattingly had been the Cardinals' manager in 1985. Maybe Jack Clark would have bunted.
When Magic Johnson playfully responded to the prospect of contract negotiations with Clayton Kershaw in light of his continuing success by saying "What's a few more zeroes?" he sounded like a person with little concept of the value of money.
I offer this explanation to Magic of what "a few more zeroes" might mean: Kershaw is set to earn in one year what it would have taken Sandy Koufax 250 years to earn.
Kevin H. Park
Can we please put a brake on these comparisons of Clayton Kershaw to Sandy Koufax?
Kershaw is an outstanding pitcher. Perhaps the best in the game today. However, he has not approached the performance level and achievements of Koufax.
In the past two seasons Kershaw's record is 30-18. Koufax's record in his final two seasons was 53-17. In the past two years Kershaw had 461 strikeouts, four shutouts and five complete games. In his final two years Koufax had 699 strikeouts, 13 shutouts and 54 complete games.
So, let's recognize Kershaw as a truly excellent pitcher. But please do not seriously compare him to Koufax.
He may be progressing nicely, but he's still not quite the next Sandy Koufax, so for the time being, let's just call him Clayton Kerfax.
Carpools get free parking at Dodger Stadium. Word from Arizona is that the Diamondbacks are upset about this too.
The new Trojans
To those critical of the way Pat Haden dismissed Lane Kiffin after the Arizona State loss, observe the sideline enthusiasm of Ed Orgeron and the renewed team energy in the Arizona game Thursday night. Compare this to the recent apathetic Sun Bowl. Haden didn't fire Kiffin, he fired himself.