My Double-Dime 8* Las Vegas Insider is on the TB Rays at 7:10 ET.
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's batting just .246 on the season with only four RBI and remains 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. 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." One can look at the standings and note that the KC Royals own the worst record of any of MLB’s 30 teams at 3-13 but a check of the “moneyline” standings reveals it’s the 6-10 Angels who find themselves in the cellar, at minus-$943! The Rays are not struggling at the plate, averaging 7.0 RPG in winning FOUR of their last five, while hitting nine HRs. The Rays ranked a modest 15th in the major leagues last season with 4.4 RPG and were 28th in batting with RISP at .224. However, they have gone 12 for 28 (.316) with RISP the last five games. "The name of the game is to score as many runs as possible," center fielder BJ Upton said. "In spring training, probably the No. 1 thing on the hitters' list was trying to do a better job of getting the man in from third base with less than two outs." Tampa Bay’s ‘hot’ hitting bodes well as they’ll face Ervin Santana tonight. Santana went 0-3 with a 4.32 ERA over his final four starts of the 2011 season (team was 0-4), finishing a disappointing year at 11-12, despite a respectable 3.38 ERA. His woes have continued in his first three starts of 2012, as he’s allowed 20 hits and 14 ERs over 18.2 innings for a ERA (he’s 0-3). Struggling early on is not exactly new for Santana, who is now 2-8 with a 5.16 ERA in the month of April, over the last three seasons! Tampa Bay counters with David Price. Price was terrific in 2010, going 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA . The Rays were 23-8 in his starts that year, giving him MLB’s 7th-best moneyline mark. However, he fell to 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA last year, as the Rays were just 18-16 in his starts, minus-$570. Price is 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA to open 2012 and his 11-9 KW ratio is cause for concern, as it was 406-142 the last two seasons (an almost 3-1 ratio). That being said, I MUCH prefer him than I do the struggling Santana (5-5 with a 5.23 ERA in 12 career starts vs TB / team is 5-7). I also feel more comfortable backing the Tampa ‘bats,’ as long as Pujols’ bat remains ‘silent!’ Take the Rays and Price.