Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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Albert Pujols looks to connect for his first home run of 2012 against the Rays this week


By Brian Waller, AngelsWin.com Columnist

Preview:
The Angels are coming off of their first series win of 2012 as they beat the Baltimore Orioles two out of three games over the weekend at the “Big A”. The Halos got great pitching performances from Jerome Williams, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren and the offense finally seemed to click as Mark Trumbo saw regular playing time. The shaky Angels’ pen was at least adequate over the three game series. It was a roller coaster ride as always but they allowed only 1 earned run in 5.0 innings (Scott Downs did give up a hit which scored two runs on Sunday but they were charged to Dan Haren).  Downs has been the most reliable pitcher out of the bullpen the past two seasons so fans should not be too concerned about his recent performance. The offense and starting rotation both seem to be getting on track, if the bullpen continues to improve and not implode constantly then the Halos look poised to string together some wins in the very near future.

Pitching Match-ups:
4/24 – Ervin Santana (0-3, 6.75 ERA) vs. David Price (2-1, 4.20 ERA)
4/25 – C.J. Wilson (2-1, 2.37 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 3.26 ERA)
4/26 – Jerome Williams (1-1, 7.71 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (0-1, 5.12 ERA)

Weather:
N/A – Playing in a dome.

Game Times/Channels/Promotions:


4/24 – 4:10 p.m. / FSW
4/25 – 4:10 p.m. / FSW, ESPN2
4/26 – 10:10 a.m. / FSW

Player(s) to Watch:
Ervin Santana will be an interesting player to watch this series. He has an overall career record of 5-5 with a 5.25 ERA against the Rays. He has not pitched well at all at Tropicana Field, where he is 2-4 with a 6.60 ERA. Santana will be facing an offense that is collectively hitting under .250, if he can avoid the big bats of Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria he has a chance for success.

Albert Pujols will breakout at the “Trop” this week. He was held hitless against the Baltimore Orioles this past weekend but he did hit a few pitches hard that seemed to be bogged down by the Anaheim marine layer. With the Angels playing in a climate controlled dome I think we will see King Albert’s first home run as an Angel.

Misc. Team Notes:
In 16 games this season Mike Scioscia has used 12 different line-ups.

The Angels have blown four leads in their first 16 games, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the most in the majors, and the bullpen has a collective ERA of 5.08, 28th in the majors.

First baseman Albert Pujols went hitless in the Angels' weekend series against the Orioles (0-for-11) and still has not hit his first home run with the Angels after 16 games and 65 at-bats. The regular-season homer-less streak stretches to Sept. 22 of last season with the Cardinals -- 22 games and 94 at-bats ago.

Outfielder Torii Hunter has his own homer-less stretch. Hunter has yet to hit a home run in 57 at-bats since the 2012 season started. He also didn't hit a home run in 60 at-bats during spring exhibitions. Hunter has not hit a home run since Sept. 24, 2011, a stretch of 65 regular-season at-bats.

Triple-A outfielder Mike Trout left Sunday's game in the fifth inning after being hit in the elbow by a pitch. Trout stayed in long enough to score a run and play another inning on defense and the injury is not considered serious. Trout also had a triple (his fourth) and a walk and is batting .400 through the first 18 games of the Triple-A season. Trout has a hit in 17 of those 18 games.

Angels’ Team Statistics / League Rank (as of 4/23/12):


Offense
Avg.: .260 / 4th
OBP: .310 / 10th
SLG: .388 / 11th
OPS: .699 / 11th
Hits: 143 / 5th
HR: 11 / 13th
RBI’s: 64 / 8th
R: 67 / 10th
BB: 40 / 12th
SO: 116 / 7th
SB: 8 / 9th

Pitching
W: 6 / 11th
ERA: 4.34 / 9th
SV: 1 / 14th
SVO: 5 / 9th
IP: 141.0 / 11th
HR: 18 / 6th
BB: 43 / 10th
SO: 113 / 8th
Avg.: .247 / 6th
WHIP: 1.26 / 6th

Opponent Interesting Facts:

The Rays have played at Tropicana Field since their inception in 1998. The facility, which was originally called the "Florida Suncoast Dome", was built in the late 1980s to attract an MLB team through either relocation or expansion. After St. Petersburg was awarded an expansion franchise in 1995, the dome underwent extensive renovations and naming rights were sold to Tropicana Products, which was based in nearby Bradenton, Florida.

Rays Single Season Records

    Highest Batting Average: .324, Aaron Ledesma (1998)
    Most Games: 162, Aubrey Huff (2003) and Delmon Young (2007)
    Most Hits: 198, Aubrey Huff (2003)
    Highest Slugging %: .627, Carlos Peña (2007)
    Most Doubles: 47, Aubrey Huff (2003)
    Most Triples: 19, Carl Crawford (2004)
    Most Home Runs: 46, Carlos Peña (2007)
    Most RBIs: 121, Carlos Peña (2007)
    Most Stolen Bases: 60, Carl Crawford (2009)
    Most Wins: 19, David Price (2010)
    Lowest ERA: 2.72, David Price (2010)
    Strikeouts: 239, Scott Kazmir (2005)
    Complete Games: 11, James Shields (2011)
    Shutouts: 4, James Shields (2011)
    Saves: 45,Rafael Soriano (2010)
Love to hear what you think!

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