Halo Effect: Power struggles


The Los Angeles Angels' home-opening series couldn’t have gone much worse. The Oakland Athletics dominated each game, outscoring the Angels 28-11 overall.

The Angels held a lead for just half of an inning the entire series: 5-4 in the sixth inning of the home opener. They immediately gave up a five-spot in the next half inning.

Angels batters hit .296 in the series. The problem was that they didn’t hit for much power (five doubles and two triples), and they scuffled with runners in scoring position (5-for-34).

Pujols heating up …

A 1-for-14 start to Albert Pujols’ season at the plate was a little too reminiscent of his start to the 2012 season. Pujols put those negative thoughts to rest by going 8-for-16 with two home runs and six walks in the past five games. Of course, if Pujols continues to stay hot while Josh Hamilton makes routine outs, teams may take a page out of the Texas Rangers' book and put him on intentionally.

… Hamilton not so much

Speaking of Hamilton, his 2-for-3 night Thursday brought his batting average up to .200. His problem continues to be overaggression. He’s swung at 60 percent of the pitches he’s seen this season, including 54 percent of first pitches -- both of those rates are the highest in the majors.

Today’s matchup

Bud Norris (HOU) versus Tommy Hanson (LAA)

Tommy Hanson gets his second start on the season. His first one was a mixed bag, as he was very effective against right-handers (.167 Opp BA), but was touched up by lefties (.333 Opp BA).

Hanson faces a Houston Astros team that doesn’t look threatening on paper but is coming in having scored 24 runs in its past two games.