The early home run leader (tied with two others) for the 2013 Los Angeles Angels is Albert … no, not that one, but Alberto Callaspo.
In fact, the third baseman has more homers (with uh, one) than both Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — combined. Yes, after a long two games, the Angels’ seventh hitter has two more hits than the team’s No. 2 and 3 hitters put toget … you get the idea.
Obviously I’m just having a little fun with small sample sizes here, which is admitted pretty easy to do at the beginning of the season. Still, all facetiousness aside, the fact that the Angels have gotten no output from their big stars in the middle of the order is something that will have to change soon.
And it will … at some point, anyway. Not to say that it’ll happen that way again this year, but facts are facts — the Angels and their fans have seen this story before with Pujols’ entirely unexpected one-plus month slump in 2012, and the team can ill-afford a sequel from the first baseman and his clean-up hitter/$125 million man in Hamilton.
The slump last season (combined with the tardiness in calling up Mike Trout) might have dealt an early blow to the team’s playoff hopes that they couldn’t recover from, and with a higher payroll and bigger expectations than ever this year, falling outside of the postseason once again would be considered a unmitigated disaster.
It’s not that the pair have been total losses for Los Angeles; they’ve gone a combined 0-for-15 after two games, but do have four walks between them. Still, it’s not exactly the soundest of strategies to have your best bats fail to hit and expect extra-inning miracles (like the one on Opening Day) to be a regular source of wins on the season.
So, is it time to panic? Hardly. It is just two games, after all, and All-World players like Pujols and Hamilton have the ability to turn on their talents on a dime.
That said, for a team brimming with optimism, slow starts can end up being the most slippery of slopes; and while the team is 1-1 after splitting their first two games against the Cincinnati Reds, Pujols and Hamilton are going to have to wake up from their slumber pretty soon to chase away the looming specter of last season’s big-budget disappointment.