Somehow, the much-maligned Anaheim Angels have re-inserted themselves into the AL West discussion. Some of their key pitchers returned from injury as they pushed themselves to the happy side of .500. The offense still lacks and they don't hit home runs. Luckily, help is on the way!
Enter Vladimir Guerrero. The larger-than-life slugger returned Monday ready to resume his middle of the order duties. Surrounded in the order by patient Bobby Abreu and defiantly all-world Torii Hunter, Vlad figures to provide the pop their diminutive infielders lack.
With questions about his age fresh in our heads, Vlady's come out terribly. Ortiz-level bad. In an admittedly small sample of games, Vlady's struggling across the board. His walk rate is half his career mark and his OPS is a frightful .526. He's hitting far more fly balls with even fewer of them leaving the yard.
Vlad's never been the most patient hitter, but things have been embarrassing since his return. Swinging at 50% of the out of zone pitches he sees, but only contacting 50% of them. Pitchers are throwing him more balls than strikes, letting him get himself out.
Hopefully this isn't the end for Vlad. Always an exciting and enjoyable player from beyond the typical baseball mold; his unique approach is clearly dependent on the skill set of a younger man. While he won't continue to hit .205 without any power, the decline is underway. Hopefully players like Guerrero and Ortiz won't spend their final years in the league dodging drug-related questions from a witch-hunting media.
AP Image courtesy of Daylife photo stealing fools