The Angels right now seem to be playing their best baseball right now out of the three. They have played .500 baseball over their last 30 games, going 12-8 in their last 20 and have won 8 of their last 10. They have been without their best starting pitcher Jared Weaver since April 7 and their starting CF Peter Bourjos since April 29. However, injuries are not an excuse- just ask the Yankees. The Angels have used 10 different starting pitchers (7 for the final two spots) and have suffered through a bad start from Hamilton, though Hamilton has started to hit of late. Weaver is set to return soon and I think that will help the Angels tremendously. In addition, this is a team that should make up some wins against a bad Astros team and a team in Seattle that is expected to faulter. At least for now, it looks like the talk has calmed over the imminent firing of manager Mike Scioscia.
The Blue Jays have been a big disappointment. Yes, the injury to Jose Reyes is a big blow to the team, but what has been so baffling is the poor performance from the team's starting pitchers. RA Dickey has been inconsistent, but has still been the team's best starting pitcher (4-6, 4.85). Josh Johnson could miss the rest of this season, but the team was counting on guys like Brandon Morrow (2-3, 5.50) and Mark Buehrle (2-3, 5.51). JA Happ has been out since he was hit in the face with a line drive, but his 4.91 ERA was not what the team expected when he made the team out of spring training. Other facets of the game have worked out, as the bullpen has been good and they have hit. But, at 22-29, this is unacceptable for this point of the season. Of late, the Jays have played better, going 12-8 in their last 20 games.
The Dodgers were thought of to had the best group of players, hands down, in baseball. But if you watched the way they played after they made the trade with the Red Sox last season, it was not like they were playing at a higher level. In fact, a once poised team to make the playoffs were eliminated in mid September last season. They continued to go for it this past offseason, adding Zack Greinke and Hyun Jin Ryu to their starting rotation, with Greinke being out since his fight with Carlos Quentin. Hanley Ramirez has also been out. But a case could be made that the Dodgers have played worse than the other two teams. Matt Kemp has hit just 2 HR and is hitting .253. For a team that had spent a lot of money, they went through a lot of options until sticking with Nick Punto at SS. As far as 3B, they have used Jerry Hairston, Luis Cruz, Juan Uribe, Dee Gordon, Justin Sellers and Skip Schumaker filling in for Ramirez. A once overfilled starting rotation is now using guys like Matt Magill and Stephen Fife in their rotation. Clayton Kershaw has pitched phenominal (5-3, 1.68) and Ryu has pitched well (5-2, 3.30). The other starters have not with Josh Beckett and Chris Capuano a combined 1-8 with an ERA at about 5.50. Of course, Beckett is on the DL as well. Remember when the Dodgers had Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Capuano, Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang. Harang just pitched a complete game for Seattle and three of the other starters are now injured. To me, this is a team that has underperformed all around.
When it comes to the managers, it is understandable that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is on the hot seat. He may not make it to the All Star break if the Dodgers do not turn it around or show some signs that they can. Larry Bowa could be a logical replacement. Little discussion has been heard regarding Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and his job security, which may suggest he has little to worry about. I do think he should be held responsible for what has transpired here. In the Jays situation does not improve, particularly with the starting pitching, I would expect to see Gibbons removed for a more pitching oriented manager like a Larry Rothschild or Ray Miller. As for Scioscia, the Angels have improved and should get even better with Weaver coming back. However, if Scioscia was let go, he would have a new job in a week.