Tuesday, April 24, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Rays 5, Angels 0
By Mark Saxon
Albert Pujols is in one of the worst slumps of his career, and now he's got company.
The Angels brought some cold bats to Tampa Bay and ran into one of the league's tougher pitchers, David Price, on Tuesday night. The result was a predictably lifeless 5-0 loss at Tropicana Field.
Finding room.Mark Trumbo has no idea where he's going to play on a given night. He has played five different positions in the last five games. But at least he knows he'll likely be playing. Manager Mike Scioscia, after a meeting with Torii Hunter, has found ways to get Trumbo onto the field. Tuesday he was playing right field for the second time in his career and Hunter was at designated hitter. Trumbo didn't do much with the bat -- 1-for-4, breaking up Price's no-hitter in the fifth -- but neither did anybody else.
David Carpenter. The sidearmer is giving the Angels an interesting look in their bullpen. He pitched a solid 1 2/3 innings and just might be locking up a bullpen job after a brilliant 2011 in the minors. Of course, take what happened Tuesday with a grain of salt. This bullpen has proven nothing when it comes to protecting leads. It seems to shine in mop-up time.
Stretches of Santana. Granted you have to be creative to get Ervin Santana in this section since he's 0-4 and is giving up home runs at an historic rate. But frankly, for a guy who has given up 10 home runs in four games, including four solo shots Tuesday, he has stretches where he looks as good as ever. If he could factor out first innings and home runs, he'd look like a Cy Young contender. Oh, wait, no he wouldn't because the Angels aren't scoring any runs for him.
Pujols' press. He hasn't gotten a hit since Thursday night, a four-game stretch of futility that is longer than any slump he endured last season, his worst year in the majors. He also has yet to homer this season, as you may have read, in 69 at-bats. The guy needs to snap out of this fairly quickly or there's no telling the depths he could pull this team to right now.
Santana's command. In the first inning, Santana left a fastball just above belt-high in the heart of the plate for Desmond Jennings. To absolutely no one's surprise, the ball carried about 15 rows into the left-field stands. Santana only has two pitches and, when he's locating the fastball this poorly, he's going to be in for trouble. You also have to wonder whether he's tipping his pitches. His stuff is too good to pitch this poorly, so maybe they know what's coming.
Power outage. It goes on. Santana has allowed nearly as many home runs, 10, in four games as the Angels have hit in 17 games, 11. Perhaps he could throw batting practice this week to get hitters on track? The Angels have to find a way to form a little offensive chemistry and the occasional home run wouldn't hurt that search.