Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/26/12

It wasn't supposed to go this way.

The Angels committed over $320 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson over the winter and instantly became the offseason champions, picked by some to reach the World Series and by almost all to fight it out with the Texas Rangers in the AL West.

Three weeks into the regular season, though, the Angels are 6-12, having spotted the Rangers a whopping 8 1/2-game lead. They have not handled the high expectations very well and appear to be a team -- and a manager -- feeling the pressure.

"What can we do? All we do is play the game," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said after the latest loss, 3-2 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. "You have to dig deep. When things are going good, you're not trying as hard. When things are going bad, you have to dig deep and try harder -- will it, believe it.

"I don't think we believe we're trying hard. ... We're just going out there and going through the motions right now. We need to go out there and do what we're supposed to do. That's everybody -- not just players."

The latest signs that the Angels are hardly playing free and easy was an 0-for-10 night with runners in scoring position Wednesday.

"I think the approach of the guys is right," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a matter of executing and trusting yourself in those situations to be able to get a pitch and use the big part of the field. I don't think it has as much to do with approach as it does with execution.

"We have a lot of guys in our lineup that are not swinging the bats to their capabilities in all situations, and when that's the case, that stat is going to be negative also. ... We have to circle the wagons and get better at things. And we will."

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The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

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