OK, so I knew that Josh Hamilton wasn't exactly a star anymore—a quick glance at his Baseball Reference page tells me that—but I didn't realize things had gotten this bad.
That GIF you see above is Hamilton swinging through a high fastball and looking like a guy who has never held a baseball bat before. Yeah, going into last night's game he'd played once since Sep. 4, etc., but this was dire. It was the second swing-and-miss of an ugly, high-leverage at-bat that featured Hamilton flailing at and missing three straight pitches while the potential winning run waited on second.
Here's his first whiff, on a flat change up that stayed up in the zone:
And here's his second, on another change up that wasn't really interested in doing much but floating high across the zone:
This was a stunningly bad at-bat, one that noticeably sucked the air out of the home crowd. Here was the once-great slugger that the Angels spent $125 million on, at the plate in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to win the game, looking completely helpless. Sure, it was a lefty-on-lefty matchup, but Tim Collins isn't Randy Johnson, and Hamilton actually hit better against lefties this year than he did right-handers.
Hamilton went 0-5 last night and was a complete non-factor, and Angels fans are going to have to suffer through a lot more of this over the next few years. Hamilton is on the books for three more seasons—he'll be making $25 million next year and $32 million per year in 2016 and 2017. On the bright side, at least he isn't signed through his age-41 season.