Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/29/12
Albert Pujols came to the plate four times Sunday afternoon, and four times he made outs. Ground ball to third. Ground ball to short. Ground ball to third. Strikeout. Condense the Angels' offensive malaise into one batter and that's what you get. Pujols struggles, his teammates struggle. The Angels return home Monday after going 1-5 on a road trip through Tampa Bay and Cleveland. They hit a collective .165 on the six games, scored just nine runs and seemed to fail continually with runners in scoring position. No one symbolizes their offensive struggles more than Pujols, who is hitting .216 this season and now has gone without a home run in 88 consecutive at-bats. Despite his own protestations that he's not feeling the pressure of producing for his new team, there is little question that's exactly what is happening. If it weren't, he wouldn't be pulling so many pitches on the ground. Pujols was 0 for 4 in the Angels' 4-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday and ended the trip in a 3-for-23 funk. Maybe it's a reach to assume that if Pujols breaks out in a big way his teammates will follow, but that's sometimes how teams break slumps: Someone has a big game and everyone around them relaxes and starts hitting. Right now, no one is hitting. The Angels totaled just three singles off 38-year-old Indians starter Derek Lowe, who pitched into the eighth. And they did it on a day in which their own starter, Ervin Santana, finally pitched well. Santana was winless in four decisions this season, but he gave the Angels seven strong innings that were spoiled when right fielder Torii Hunter lost a ball in the sun. It's a play that is usually ruled a hit, but Major League Baseball told official scorers at the start of the season that outfielders who lose sight of a ball in the sun should be given an error. Hunter's miscue on Asdrubal Cabrera's high fly came after Santana gave up a one-out infield single and a walked to put runners at first and second base. Two unearned runs scored on the play, and suddenly the Angels were behind. They had a chance to get even in the eighth, but Howie Kendrick struck out with the bases loaded when he chased a fastball by reliever Vinnie Pestano that was up and out of the strike zone. That's how badly things are going. Santana's problem this season has been spotting his fastball, but he had few of those lapses against the Indians. And although he hasn't pitched well this season, giving up 19 earned runs in his first four starts (a 7.23 ERA), he also hasn't been supported. In his past four starts, including Sunday, the Angels have failed to score a run -- a stretch of 28 consecutive innings. Pitchers who worry they won't have an offense behind them often try to be too fine with their pitches, concerned that giving up one run might be enough to beat them. That's not necessarily what has happened to Santana, but his reaction to seeing Hunter's error spoke volumes. He looked skyward, as if to say, "What next?" The Angels' two struggling starters, Dan Haren and Santana, have now pitched two effective back-to-back games. Haren won his first game of the season Saturday, giving up just one run in eight innings in a 2-1 win. But now that they're on track, the offense looks like a 98-pound weakling. The Angels are coming home with a 7-15 record, equaling the worst 22-game start in their history. Will they get better at home? It remains to be seen, but here's a guess: As soon as Pujols starts hitting, the rest of the offense will follow.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

Chicago White Sox: Impact of Mat Latos signing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clippers suspend Blake Griffin four games

St. Louis mayor says city is moving on from NFL

Report: Hawks could entertain trading core players at deadline

Arthur Blank diagnosed with prostate cancer

Browns deny coverup of Manziel showing up drunk at practice

Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with knee strain

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

Michael Jordan’s rep comments on the crying meme

10 NBA teams that could be active at the trade deadline

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

Jay Williams advocates for pot as painkiller for athletes

Photographer uninjured in SB collision with Corey Brown

Did Messi outbid Ronaldo for most expensive car?

Newton erotic novella ‘Dabbin’ with Cam’ released on Amazon

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker