My Double-Dime 9* Weekly Wipeout Winner (MLB total-AL) is on LAA/TB Over at 1:10 ET.
It’s been a troubling start to the 2012 season for the Angels. The Angels were able to win two of three this past weekend at home vs the Orioles but the team can’t give Albert Pujols any of the credit. The off-season’s biggest FA signee had a miserable three days at the plate, going 0 for 11 with three strikeouts over the weekend. He was batting just .246 on the season with only four RBI and remained without a HR in LA’s first 16 games, a career worst situation for him to open a season. The Angels are waiting for something to happen with Pujols, as he served as the designated hitter for the first time this season Sunday with manager Mike Scioscia saying, "I think it's something where we want him swinging the bat 162 games." After scoring 12 runs in the first two games in a pair of 6-3 wins over the Orioles, the Angels were held to seven hits and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position in Sunday’s 3-2 loss (10 innings). "We're going to get going, it's only a matter of time," right-hander Dan Haren told the Angels' official website after allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. "We don't want to dig ourselves too deep of a hole, but the track records and the talent, it's going to take over at some point." The Angels moved on to Tampa to open the new week, losing 5-0 on Tuesday and 3-2 last night. Pujols is now homerless in 18 games, while extending his hitless streak to 19 at-bats. He’s batting .222 with no homers and four RBI after 18 games. One can look at the standings and note that the KC Royals own the worst record of any of MLB’s 30 teams at 4-13 but a check of the “moneyline” standings reveals it’s the 6-12 Angels who find themselves in the cellar, at minus-$1146! Meanwhile, the Rays came into this series averaging 7.0 RPG in winning FOUR of their previous five, while hitting nine HRs. They have scored a more modest five and three runs in making it SIX wins in their last seven but let’s note they are 7-1 at home on the season, averaging 5.0 PPG. The Angels will send the much-traveled Jerome Williams to the mound in this getaway day game. Here’s brief history of Williams’ MLB journey. He was the San Francisco Giants first-round draft pick in the 1999 draft. He was a regular starter in the Giants rotation in 2003-2004, going 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 2003 and 10-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 2004. He was acquired by the Chicago Cubs during the 2005 season and ended up going 6-8 with a 3.91 ERA. However, he played most of 2006 with the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate. Williams was waived by the Cubs and then claimed by the Oakland Athletics. He did not play for Oakland and was not tendered a contract in December, making him a free agent. He was signed by the Washington Nationals. He pitched poorly for the Nats (0-5 with a 7.20 ERA in six starts) and then landed on the DL His rehabilitation in the minors did not go well and after 14 appearances with Double-A, in which he compiled a 9.08 ERA, he was released. He did not pitch in the majors from 2008-10. Williams signed a minor league contract with the Angels on June 16, 2011. He was called up to “the bigs” in mid August and on August 21, earned his first major league win since 2005 in his first major league start since 2007. He finished 2011 with a 4-0 record (3.68 ERA) in 10 appearances, including six starts (Angels were 5-1). He’s made two starts in 2012, allowing 12 hits and eight ERs over 9.1 innings for a 7.71 ERA. Just why won’t the Rays ‘reach him’ in this contest? As for the struggling Angels, Matt Moore may bring some welcome relief. He made a HUGE ‘splash’ in last year’s ALDS by winning Game 1 in Texas, 9-0. He lasted seven innings while allowing two hits and striking out six. He was the next new star of Tampa's rich farm system. However, in three 2012 starts, Moore has been a disappointment. He’s allowed 20 hits with 12 walks (against just 11 Ks) in 19.1 innings, giving up 11 ERs (that’s an ERA of 5.12). After two low scoring games of 5-0 and 3-2, expect bats to ‘heat up’ on both sides this afternoon. Go OVER!