Found May 01, 2012 on
Fox Sports North:
It would have been hard to imagine Albert Pujols' first month with the Los Angeles Angels going much worse.
Although he's opening May against perhaps one of the worst pitchers in baseball, it still might not be enough to get him out of his funk.
Pujols and the Angels look to put a disappointing April behind them Tuesday night when they face Minnesota's Francisco Liriano.
Despite defeating the hapless Twins 4-3 in Monday's series opener at Angel Stadium, Los Angeles (8-15) still finished with the third-worst April in the franchise's 52-year history and is nine games back of AL West-leading Texas.
Pujols was in the middle of the mess, concluding the month with no homers, four RBIs, a .217 batting average and a .265 on-base percentage - all career lows for a single month in which he appeared in at least 11 games.
"We're glad, and we hope we don't oblige and let him get one," said Ron Gardenhire, manager of the major league-worst Twins (6-16).
Pujols, who ended a nine-game stretch without an extra-base hit Monday with a double that left fielder Josh Willingham lost in the lights, would seem to have a good chance to break out of his slump Tuesday considering how much Liriano (0-3, 11.02 ERA) is struggling. The three-time NL MVP was 0 for 3 against Liriano on April 12, however, and is hitless in five career at-bats against him.
While Pujols is still sputtering at the plate, Torii Hunter seems to have regained his power stroke. The ex-Twin homered for the third time in four games Monday, and is batting .357 in his last seven contests.
"It was a tough month for everybody," Pujols said. "I think Torii is the only one who's swinging the bat well."
Hunter is batting .431 with nine RBIs in 13 games against his former team since the start of last season, and is 2 for 5 lifetime against Liriano.
This will be Liriano's first start since April 22, as Gardenhire decided to skip his last start to give the left-hander a chance to work on his mechanics.
Liriano has yielded at least five runs in each of his first four starts, and has issued 13 walks over 16 1-3 innings while his strikeouts per nine innings have dipped to a career-low 6.6. His opponents' .459 on-base percentage is the second-worst in the majors among pitchers with at least four starts.
In his latest dud, Liriano allowed five runs, three hits, four walks and hit a batter in five innings of a 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Angels have already contributed to Liriano's struggles, knocking him around for six runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings 2 12 weeks ago. The Twins, however, managed to rally for a 10-9 victory.
In three starts against Los Angeles since 2009, Liriano is 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA, easily his worst ERA against any opponent.
The Angels counter with Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51), who allowed two runs and five hits in a season-high seven innings in Thursday's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay but didn't receive a decision.
The right-hander threw 1 1-3 scoreless innings of relief against the Twins last season, his lone look at them since a start for San Francisco in 2003.
Williams will likely have to face Joe Mauer, who is expected to return to the lineup after missing his first game of the season Monday to rest his sore left knee. The three-time AL batting champion is hitting .421 with four RBIs during a five-game hitting streak.
It is uncertain, however, if Justin Morneau will play after leaving Monday's loss - the seventh in eight games for Minnesota - with a sore left wrist.
BEST OF MAXIM
At some point this season, Albert Pujols is going to turn it on. He has to. Through 23 games this season, Pujols has yet to hit his first homerun as a member of the Angels and has only four RBIs. He is hitting .217 with an on-base percentage of .265. Albert is one of the reasons Los Angeles is off to an 8-15 start, and he will probably be one of the reasons they go on a tear at some...
It may not look like it in the box score, but Tuesday's start was progress for Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Liriano had time off to clear his mind and to prepare for his fifth start of the year after getting knocked around in his first four starts and skipping his last time through the rotation. And while he was charged with the loss in Minnesota's 4-0loss at the...
All the Twins talk around the Minnesota airwaves today has been about Francisco Liriano and how he took a step forward after last night's 4-0 loss against the Angels. He gave up back to back bombs and Torii Hunter ate him up all game but, all-in-all, but he held his composure and didn't look to bad, right? I say WRONG! Being only a former college pitcher, I certainly...
MINNEAPOLIS All eyes will be on Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano when he makes his next start Tuesday against Los Angeles. After early-season struggles, Liriano was skipped the last time through the rotation.
But he'll take the hill Tuesday after taking some time off, hoping to turn around his season. After his latest bullpen session Saturday, Liriano sounds refreshed and...
The May 2nd, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels ...
It's no secret that the savy manager can make or break his team with the buy low/sell high trade mantra. An extreme example is the trade I've just executed in my 12 team mixed keeper league. I was offered Joey Votto, Roy Halladay and a 3rd round pick in next years draft for Josh Hamilton and my 2nd rounder. This is an extreme example, and I think the planets alligned for...
Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols stands in the infield after the top half of the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium in New York City on April 13, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo
With April now in the books, what were some of the biggest surprises through the first month of the 2012 MLB Season? I’ve outlined five shockers below.
@Minnesota Twins (6-15) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (8-14)
Pitching Probables: MIN – Francisco Liriano (0-3, 11.02 ERA) LAA – Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51 ERA)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830 [wayin]47ca0dda-db68-4cd1-8125-0324be50d637[/wayin...
The May 3rd, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels ...
ESPN Stats and Info recently tweeted this. Carlos Beltran with 2 HR and a career-high 7 RBI vs #Pirates … in 1st 3 innings of game. — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 3, 2012 This significance of this is that Beltran was brought into St. Louis to replace Albert Pujols. That’s currently two more
Ryan Howard (left) and Albert Pujols (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The New York Yankees are not the only team happy that April is finally over, as a few other MLB teams are hoping to turn things around in May.
So, here is a quick list of the Yankees and three other troubled teams who should be much better than they were in April:
1 - Back in Spring Training, the New York Yankees were...
Every year, we hear advice about how it's time to "buy low" on struggling stars like Albert Pujols, Giancarlo Stanton and Robinson Cano. "Get them now for cheap before they heat up!" Except that the market for superstars - at least in competitive leagues - usually doesn't move much after one bad month. (Whether it should in these cases is another question...
Derek Lowe pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning and the Cleveland Indians scored three runs on Angels errors to beat Los Angeles 4-0 Sunday.
Lowe (4-1) retired 12 batters on ground balls, including Albert Pujols three times. Pujols also struck out against reliever Chris Perez, extending his career-long homerless streak to 117 at-bats.
Ervin Santana (0-5), in his first...