Posted April 20, 2012 on
AP on Fox
If there was ever a time for Albert Pujols to hit his first home run with the Los Angeles Angels, Friday night's series opener with the Baltimore Orioles would seem to be it.
Pujols and the Angels look to continue the nightmare for Baltimore's Brian Matusz, who has been dreadful while losing 11 straight decisions.
Much has been made of Pujols still without a homer in his first 13 games with Los Angeles. This is the longest stretch to open a season without a home run for the three-time MVP, who hit 445 in his 11 seasons with St. Louis.
The slugger showed signs of emerging from his power slump with three doubles Thursday against Oakland, but the Angels (4-9) lost 4-2, their third straight defeat. Pujols claimed he still isn't worried or frustrated by the Angels' disappointing start.
"That's why we play 162 games,'' he said.
After missing a homer by a few inches Thursday, Pujols, batting .296 with four RBIs, could have some more opportunities to go deep against Matusz (0-2, 8.38 ERA).
Matusz has not won since June 6, 2011, against Oakland, and has a 12.10 ERA in 12 starts since. The left-hander has yielded at least four runs in all of those outings and five or more in nine, as opponents have hit 19 homers while batting .390 with a .459 on-base percentage.
Pujols has never faced Matusz, but right-handed hitters are batting .429 with two homers in 28 at-bats against him this season.
Against Toronto on Sunday, Matusz allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-2 setback, which extended his losing streak to 11, the longest active run of defeats in the majors.
"It's so frustrating,'' Matusz said. "I know what went on last year, I know it was a horrible year and so far I'm off to a horrible start.''
One of his losses during his streak came against Los Angeles. At Angel Stadium on Aug. 21, Matusz was reached for six runs and nine hits in four innings of a 7-1 defeat.
Similarly to Pujols, teammates Howie Kendrick and Vernon Wells are also off to slow starts, but they might also be poised for a turnaround.
Kendrick is 4 for 9 with a double against Matusz, while Wells is 5 for 6 with a homer and three doubles. Wells also hit .313 with three home runs and nine RBIs in helping the Angels go 6-3 against Baltimore last season.
Pujols' only previous experience against the Orioles came in a three-game series in 2003, when he went 7 for 13 with three doubles and six RBIs.
Baltimore (8-5) arrives in Southern California to conclude a 10-game trip after Thursday's 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox, its third victory in four games. Adam Jones hit a two-run homer, his fifth, for the Orioles, who have won their first two road series after winning five all of 2011. They were outscored 24-12 in getting swept in their lone series at Angel Stadium last year.
Left fielder Nolan Reimold, who is batting .378 with four homers and eight RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak, sat out Thursday because of a stiff neck but is expected to play in the opener. He'll get a chance to make things difficult on Jerome Williams (0-1, 16.88), who is coming off a forgettable season debut.
Facing the New York Yankees on Sunday, Williams was tagged for five runs, five hits and three walks in 2 2-3 innings of an 11-5 loss.
The right-hander went 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts for the Angels last season, which includes a stellar outing against the Orioles. He gave up a run, six hits and no walks in seven innings of a 7-1 victory Aug. 21.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
From potentially the best since Adrian Peterson to mid-round prospects, we break down the strengths, weaknesses and production of the top 10 running backs, as well as the Vikings’ outlook at the position.
Who: AngelsWin.com FansWhat: Get a private all-you-can eat dinner, meet a current player on the IE 66ers, and get an Albert Pujols Bobblehead too!Where: San Manuel Stadium, in San BernadinoWhen: Saturday, May 12th at 5:30Cost: $30 per person (includes the game ticket, dinner, player meeting, and bobblehead)San Bernardino – AngelsWin.com is pleased to announce their first Minor...
ANAHEIM, Calif. The Albert Pujols homer run watch continues, but for once, nobody cares.
Well, maybe Pujols does.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia has been saying his team is more than one player, even if that one player is Pujols. But if the Angels are going to live up to expectations as lofty as they are they need more than just their 240-million man to deliver.
They need Erick...
Every morning we recap the previous night’s games, news and notes so that you’re up-to-date on everything baseball. As always you can follow us on Twitter (@BaseballProf) and like us on Facebook to get updated, fantasy-relevant news, tidbits and analysis.
1. It has now been 48 plate appearances and the mighty Albert Pujols still has no home runs. In fact, he has just four runs...
ANAHEIM, Calif. The day started with a celebration, but it ended glumly again for the Angels. No matter what they do, it doesn't seem to come out well.
Their losses are starting to look bizarre. Thursday night at Angel Stadium, they out-hit the Oakland A's but left 11 base runners and lost 4-2. Every little thing works against them; every mistake comes back to haunt them...
Kiss personal-service and “milestone” marketing clauses in MLB goodbye. Going forward, MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to stop allowing those aspects into contracts following deals by Albert Pujols and Ryan Zimmerman, according to a report by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
In those contracts, both players were offered personal-service clauses – salary after the player...
No - to the shock of many - I do not have Albert Pujols winning AL MVP. Who do I have??? Read on...
I've always known this adage:
A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.
But I never knew it had a name. I also never knew it was about Albert Pujols' double Thursday night:
The Angels are a much better team then they were last year. The team’s offseason additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson have caused many people to pick them as the favorites to win the World Series. However, the Angels have more holes than many people would think. Where the team is lacking the most is in its bullpen, which is one of the worst among teams expected to make the...
For those near a radio tomorrow (well, later today) at 1:35, turn to 1090am to hear me talk some Orioles baseball on WBAL.The Good:
Brian Matusz had a rocky first inning, due largely to poor fastball command, but once he started to mix his pitches things turned around. The off-speed stuff looked good - almost like vintage Matusz - so there's progress being made. As the game...
Hello again baseball fans. As we look out now, we see it’s been about two full weeks out the 2012 baseball season. There have been many surprises along the first dozen or so games, as well as some early season presumptions that seem to be accurate. The beauty of the early part of the season is that with everything/one still cranking up, no one can really put a finger on what early...
@Baltimore Orioles (8-5) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (4-9)Pitching Probables: OAK – Brian Matusz (0-2, 8.38 ERA) LAA – Jerome Williams (0-1, 16.87 ERA)Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports West; Radio - KLAA 830[wayin]a474f890-4276-41be-b9f3-ae6f9d39d848[/wayin]Like the line in JFK goes, we are through the looking glass people. Black is white, up is down. The Orioles...
Howie Kendrick had three hits and three RBIs, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Friday night to end a three-game losing streak and hand Brian Matusz his 12th straight loss.
Jerome Williams (1-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out six and walking one. Jordan Walden converted the first ninth-inning save situation by the Angels...