With Albert Pujols struggling in the first season of his 10-year, $240 million contract, and at eight games under .500, the Angels are making moves to shake up their team.
They hope those moves pay off this afternoon as they continue a three-game series against the hosting Cleveland Indians.
Pujols, who is hitting .225 with four RBI and still doesn't have a homer in 20 games this season, has watched his new club struggle early on the way to a current last-place showing in the AL West.
The Angels blew a two-run lead last night to the Indians and lost 3-2 when Asdrubal Cabrera singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Following the contest, the Angels released outfielder Bobby Abreu. The team is expected to call up Mike Trout from Triple-A Salt Lake to get more playing time.
Michael Brantley went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored last night, while Jason Kipnis also drove in a run for the Indians, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Justin Masterson pitched 8 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on four hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Vinnie Pestano got the final two outs of the ninth for the win.
"I think Masterson did what he was supposed to do today," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "He had his sinker working really well today. Usually he struggles with the lefties but they went 0-for-12 today."
Torii Hunter went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI for the Angels, who have dropped five straight. Jered Weaver pitched six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.
"Some of the guys are not throwing to their capabilities," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "That's putting more pressure on the other guys and it winds up having a snowball effect."
Dan Haren gets the start today for the Angels. He doesn't have a decision over his last four starts after opening the year with a loss to the Royals. He's 3-2 in 10 career starts vs. the Indians.
Jeanmar Gomez, who just served a five-game suspension but actually didn't miss a turn in the rotation, pitches for the Indians. He's coming off a victory against the A's one week ago. Gomez was pounded in his lone appearance against the Angels, allowing six earned runs over three innings.
The Angels won six of nine against the Tribe last season.