Cheap Seats

Who says Pujols didn't have anything to do with Hatcher's firing?

Albert Pujols' three infield singles Tuesday couldn't save Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher's job.

The veteran coach, who has been at manager Mike Scioscia's side for his 13 years at the helm for Anaheim, couldn't survive a dismal start that included the worst two and a half months at the plate in Pujols' career.

I feel bad for the guy because, while some say Pujols isn't at fault for his firing, it certainly seems that matters beyond his control are. Opponents are quick to point out Hatcher's teams faded over the last 2 1/2 seasons and that his offense was in the bottom quarter of American league clubs.

But would they be so lowly if Pujols was hitting .312 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs instead of .212 with one homer and 14 batted in? Is it Hatcher's fault that he has been saddled with Vernon Wells who settled in as a .230 hitter long before he relocated to southern California? Or that Torii Hunter is getting old? Or that Mike Napoli was shipped away?

I don't think Pujols' blow up with Hatcher following a closed-door meeting a couple of weeks ago had anything to do with Hatcher's dismissal. But I don't think there is any doubt that someone had to pay for Albert's terribly disappointing start.

It seems that there is plenty of room for blame in Anaheim these days.