Poor defense a surprise, but becoming routine

Figgins' latest error costs the game

Manager Mike Scioscia admits that the biggest surprise from the first third of the Angels' season has been the club's poor fielding. Having allowed 45 unearned runs, by far the highest total in the American League, the defense has cost the team dearly.

The Angels rank last in the American League in defense, and in games where they've made an error, their record is 13-21.

Wednesday night, third baseman Chone Figgins threw away a potential double-play ball in the sixth inning, allowing the Royals to wipe out a 3-1 deficit and proceed to a 4-3 win over the Angels. Figgins, who made three errors in 56 games at third base last season, has already made seven errors in half that number of games at the hot corner this year.

The Angels, a team without a lot of power at the plate, pride themselves on having above-average pitching and defense. But in large part because of the disappointing defense, the Angels are in last place in the AL West and are only 2-4 on the current homestand playing the Mariners and Royals.

The news isn't any better in the Angels' minor leagues where only low-A Cedar Rapids ranks in the top half of its league for team fielding percentage. Triple-A Salt Lake is 12th among the 16 members of the Pacific Coast League.

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