Page last updated on Tue Dec 01 16:57:07 EST 2015
Thu, 03 May 2012 03:42 AM EDT

Albert Pujols ripped a long drive down the left-field line, and the Los Angeles Angels rose in the dugout along with the crowd. The ball sliced through the heavy night air, rising into the stands — and hooking just one or two feet foul outside the yellow pole.

One month into an extravagant deal with a new team, baseball’s most feared slugger has lost his pop. Baseball betting lines

“I know I can hit home runs,” Pujols claimed. “When it’s going to occur, I don’t know.”

Pujols didn’t hit a homer for the Angels in April, shockingly going 23 games and 92 at-bats without once doing what he did 445 times over 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Dating back to late last season, the 3-time National League MVP and 2-time World Series champion is in the longest longball drought of his career, going twenty-nine games and 121 at-bats without a homer. Baseball spreads

For a gifted power hitter in the ostensible prime of his career, it’s an unsettling stretch of futility even in the earliest stages of his 10-year contract.

For the Angels, who are paying $240 million for homers and victories from arguably the best offensive player of his generation, it’s a simmering issue that is threatening to boil.

They’re not coming at all in Anaheim, and that is not what the Angels anticipated after signing Pujols away from the Cardinals for the subsequent 10 years with the 3rd-richest deal in major league background.

Even worse, Pujols’ new colleagues have slumped together with him and last-place Los Angeles heads into May in an 8 -15 funk despite 4-3 win over majors-worst Minnesota.

Not even matching the worst start in organization history has caused the Angels to waver from publicly backing their new 1st baseman. They still expect to see the sublime power of the man who hit 3 homers in Game 3 of the World Series last fall, matching a feat only accomplished by Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson.

“Even though he’s a leader and has been around, we’ve still got to lift him up, because the game will slap you in the face often and humble you,” said fellow veteran Torii Hunter, who shared Pujols’ power drought until hitting three homers in the last 4 games.

Pujols has the highest batting average and slugging percentage of any active player, but he’s hitting .217 with just four RBIs and 8 extra-base hits — all doubles, and only 1 in the last 9 games.

“I know what I need to do, and I am making my accommodation,” Pujols announced. “I’ve been doing it for 12 years, so I know my hitting. Only God knows my swing better than me. When you’re going through things like this, you need to be cautious who you listen to, as you have so many hitting coaches.”

Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia has tried many variations to his lineup, which ranks 13th out of 14 AL teams with just 80 runs in the Angels’ 1st 23 games. Scioscia insists Pujols will find his own way out of the slump, even while it deepens.

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