NEW YORK -- Sunday was only the ninth game of the Angels' season -- and it featured the eighth different starting lineup. For the series finale at Yankee Stadium, Maicer Izturis got his first start at third base, with Mark Trumbo getting in his second game at designated hitter, Bobby Abreu playing for the fourth time and Peter Bourjos and Kendrys Morales getting the night off. The Angels ranked 13th in the Majors in lineup combinations last year, but came into Sunday's game tied for fifth. That's partly due to the amount of depth manager Mike Scioscia has on his bench and partly due to the early struggles from so many of the starters.
Scioscia has been consistent with a few groupings in his lineup. Like the top three of Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols, respectively. And Morales and Torii Hunter batting fourth and fifth, respectively, against right-handed pitching (minus Morales' off-day Sunday). For now, though, everything else continues to get scrambled. "You can wish all you want about the lineup," Scioscia said, "but you have to just take a pragmatic approach and look at it [with] what's good on this day and what's good with the long term, as to how you're matching up and what you're doing. "There's some groupings that really have a potential to work, and we want to play that out. And if we get things settled, and some guys swing to their capabilities, then we will most likely be able to minimize the need to match up so much." Through the first eight games, an Angels lineup that was expected to be deeper and more productive ranks in the middle of the pack in basically every offensive category, with Pujols, Morales, Bourjos, Hunter, Aybar, Alberto Callaspo and Vernon Wells going through varying degrees of struggles. Which begs the question -- are the struggles caused by the constant lineup changes, or are the constant lineup changes caused by the struggles? Wells believes it's the latter. "It's just a matter of everyone else fitting into our roles and being consistent," Wells said. "We haven't been consistent out there, so we can't ask for him to be consistent with the lineup unless we do our part. He's always been a guy who tinkers with the lineup and tries to find out what works best. But this has the potential of being the most complete lineup that he's had, so it's just a matter of us doing our parts."