Douglas Benton. 23rd April, 2012 - 5:48 pm
The Los Angeles Angels were one of the most talked about teams this spring, but have gotten off to a 6-10 start with Albert Pujols still being homerless. What is the forecast for Los Angeles going forward and how long can Baltimore stay in the race?
Game 1: Angels win 6-3
Game 2: Angels win 6-3
Game 3: Orioles win 3-2 (10 innings)
Los Angeles Angels (6-10)
The big free agent splash of signing Pujols hasn't paid immediate dividends for the Angels. The premier slugger is still without a home run and went 0-for-11 against Baltimore with two walks and three strikeouts. The performance ended his nine game hitting streak and he has just seven extra base hits in 16 games, including his first action at DH on Sunday. The production will be fine by the end of the year, but that doesn't help the now 6-10 Angels.
Los Angeles is still very tough at the top of the rotation with Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. On Saturday, Weaver threw a complete game five hitter in giving up three runs and striking out five to move to 3-0 on the year with a 2.43 ERA. Haren suffered another no-decision in Sunday's finale despite pitching into the eighth inning in surrendering six hits, a walk, two runs and striking out nine.
The Angels came into the season with high expectations and have sputtered out of the gate. They are already seven games behind a hot and talented Texas Rangers squad. Without any one glaring weakness, Los Angeles travels to Tampa Bay this week in hopes of not falling behind any further in the standings. This was the first series win for the Angels with losses against Kansas City, Oakland and Minnesota.
Baltimore Orioles (9-7)
Catcher Matt Wieters had a breakout year of sorts last season with 22 home runs, 68 RBI and carrying a .262 batting average with 500 at-bats. He also won a gold glove behind the plate. This year, he is hitting .292 with five home runs and 12 RBI with a two run homer off Weaver on Saturday. Coming out of Georgia Tech with much promise, the 6-foot-5 Wieters is one of the better catchers in baseball at 25-years-old.
Nick Markakis has hit at least .284 in each of the last six seasons, but has gotten off to a slow start this year. The left-handed hitting outfielder went 5-for-12 with three RBI against the Angels to run his hitting streak to five games. He won the gold glove last year and needs just an increase in power to be a premier player in the game. He has only hit at least 20 home runs twice in his career.
A former top five-pick, Brain Matusz continues his struggles in the major leagues. After going 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA in 12 starts last year, the 25 year old right hander fell to 0-3 on Friday after giving up nine hits and six runs in five innings. The Orioles have just six quality starts in 2012 and this lack of starting pitching leads to a belief the 9-7 start could be hard to carry forward without better starts.
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