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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
1st pitch: Does Pujols have a weakness?

By Ryan McCrystal, ESPN Stats and Info

Today’s Trivia: The Braves announced that they will retire Tom Glavine’s No. 47 later this season. It will be the highest number retired by the Braves. Who owns the highest retired uniform number in the majors?

Quick Hits: Don’t look now, but Albert Pujols has a weakness. He’s batting just .172 against lefties this season, 12th worst in the majors by a right-handed hitter. Here’s a look at a few other righties struggling to hit their left-handed opponents.

* Matt LaPorta is batting .077 (2-26) against lefties this season, worst in the majors among right handers.

* Matt Kemp is batting .278 against lefties, well below his career average of .351. He also has just one extra-base hit, a double, in 39 plate appearances.

* Dustin Pedroia is batting .235 against lefties. His BA vs lefties has declined in each of his four full years in the majors - .348/.313/.277/.235.

* Austin Jackson, who is second in the AL in hitting, is batting just .143. All four of his hits against lefties have been singles.

* Alex Gonzalez has struck out 14 times in 35 plate appearances against lefties.

Today’s Leaderboard: Brad Penny, who starts tonight against the Astros, is off to one of the best starts of his career. A key reason for his early-season success has been keeping his pitch count down. Penny ranks among the league leaders in fewest pitches per inning.

Key Matchups: Manny Ramirez is a career .536 hitter against Dan Haren, who he’s scheduled to face tonight, and has taken him deep three times. Lately though, Haren has shied away from facing Ramirez. Haren has walked Ramirez in two of their last four meetings.

Prince Fielder continues to struggle to find his power stroke and it likely won’t end tonight. In his career against Tim Hudson, Fielder has just four hits in 17 at bats – all of them singles.

Trivia Answer: Carlton Fisk’s No. 72 is retired by the White Sox. The highest retired number – uniform or otherwise – is the Indians’ No. 455. It was dedicated to the fans to commemorate their 455 consecutive sellouts.