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Haren and Pujols come up big: are the Angels finally turning the corner?

May 25, 2012, 9:17 AM EDT

Dan Haren

At some point you have to hit rock bottom. It’s just that, if you can’t hit anything, even rock bottom looks hard.  But maybe last night the Angels finally turned things around, putting together a game that went the way they hoped things would go often this year.

The Pujols signing aside, the team’s strength heading into the season was its rotation, with four guys — Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana — who could lead most teams’ rotations.  It’s been an erratic year for them so far, but last night Haren pitched a four-hitter and struck out 14.  While he’s still only 2-5, he lowered his ERA to 3.76 and, for once, got a couple of runs to work with.

Those runs came from the other piece of the puzzle: Albert Pujols. He hit a homer and singled twice, driving in two of the three Angels runs. It’s a modest turnaround so far, but he has hit in nine of his last ten games and has raised his average and his OBP by nearly 30 points since Mike Scioscia gave him a day off on May 5.

False hope? Reading too much into a performance against a poor Mariners team? Something to grow on?  It could be any or all of those things. But for at least one night, the script was followed for Anaheim.

  1. thefalcon123 - May 25, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Small sample size alert:
    In his last 10 games, Albert is hitting .325/.378/.650. The walks are still missing (as they were much of last year), but they otherwise look like Pujols number, and at .281, it’s not inflated by BABIP.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Well, you KNEW he wasn’t going to hit .200 all year, I’ve seen a lot of his ABs as most Angel games start after the Cardinals are done, and he’s hit the ball hard a lot, not bullets, but line drives and hard grounders…they just seem to be right at the 3B/SS/LF more often than you would expect. He should be “fine”, but, of course, that still won’t be 2008 Pujols. No reason he shouldn’t be a solid middle of the order guy…..if only the rest of the roster could hit.

  2. umrguy42 - May 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    “with four guys — Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana — ”

    I’m assuming you meant to include Haren in there, as that’s only three :p #nitpicks

  3. jikkle49 - May 25, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    I still see them struggling but I think that ice is starting to break and they’ll keep getting better as the season went on.

    Pujos is simply too good to just not hit and the more time he’s in the AL the better he’ll start hitting. The same could be said for the rotation as the guys are clearly talented and it was a matter of time before they settled down and starting to get in a groove and pitch.

  4. Derek - May 25, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    In their last 14 games, they’ve lost 2/3 to Texas, split a series with Chicago, lost 2/3 to San Diego, and have gone 3-2 against the Athletics. I’m not sure you can call that turning the corner just yet. They’ve got a series with NYY and TEX coming up soon – I’m holding off judgement until then…

    • elgorditodehumboldt - May 25, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      ^^^ what he said. As a life-long Angels fan I have had my heart broken too many times. Put up or shut up.

  5. hiltonandastoria - May 25, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    If Wilson starts turning it around like Haren…
    Yup Whole new ball game out West

  6. IdahoMariner - May 25, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Dude, it’s the mariners. Everyone looks like an ace against us, except Darvish for some reason. And a hitter like pujols should view any of our pitchers, except King Felix of course, as batting practice. Of course, pujols hasn’t been pujols, but I would still wait until next week to call it a corner turned.

    • blabidibla - May 25, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      And Mickey Hatcher has been gone for 10 days. I always liked Mickey, but obviously he and Pujols were not in sync.

      • chumthumper - May 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM

        Surely, Pujols wasn’t actually listening to Hatcher tell him how to hit.

  7. stex52 - May 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Reply hazy. Ask again later.

  8. jarathen - May 25, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Narrative is only accurate in hindsight. We won’t know they’ve turned the corner until they have already done so, IF they ultimately do, and trying to predict it each time they manage to eke out three wins in a row is ultimately foolish.

  9. denny65 - May 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Lousy game. Haren was given a strike zone the size of Chone Figgins contract last night.

    Laughable. Both.

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