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Whether your Sox are of the Red or White variety, the one thing MLB fans agree on is that Coolio Santos is a punting Pirate,
pillaging out value from the depths of the ocean that is the World Series. He's not afraid to make a Brave call, cherry
picking all the Diamond backs, and if the occasion calls for it advising some, err... Tampa Bay Lays (I think that works!?).
In any case, it must be recognised that he certainly knows what to do with peanut butter jelly and a baseball bat.
Surging offences meet in this evening's live TV game as Albert Pujols and the LA Angels finish up their four game
series with the Detroit Tigers. Both teams suffered poor starts to the year, primarily thanks to their struggles at the plate,
and now find themselves chasing the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox within their respective divisions. The Tigers relied
heavily on superstars Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the early going, whilst Austin Jackson also contributed. But those
who had risen to prominence in 2011, including the likes of Brennan Boesch and Alex Avila, were unable to match the efforts
of their Tiger team-mates. Injuries and inconsistency affected the pitching staff too, and it appeared as though the pre-season
AL Central favourites would enter the All-Star break under .500. That wasn't to be though, as a friendly run of games
against the Twins, Royals and Orioles helped jump-start the bats; Boesch appears to have turned the corner and is now hitting
over .250 (9-for-19 in his last five), plus Delmon Young is putting his swing-friendly nature to good use, plating runners
rather than striking out as they stand in scoring position. The Tigers have now roared back to 48-44 and will battle it out
with the White Sox for divisional supremacy.
In stark contrast, the Angels received strong early performances from their relative youngsters; Mike Trout is still only 20 and he leads the Major Leagues in batting average at .355, whilst Mark Trumbo already has 26 home runs to go along with his high on-base percentage. Instead, it was their marquee free agent signing Albert Pujols who toiled, lacking in power, pitch recognition and technique. Some doubted he would ever be the same again, but it wasn't long before The Machine was back to his slugging ways. He's been even better over the last fortnight, and has four homers and eight runs batted in during his last ten games. Pujols' upturn in form has coincided with a strong run by the team as a whole, and the Angels are now right back in post-season contention at 50-42.
Tonight's encounter pits Jerome Williams against Max Scherzer on the mound. Williams is a bona fide back-of-the-rotation, number five starter, whilst Scherzer, despite his undoubted potential, has regularly failed to deliver. As illustrated by their 4.5+ earned run averages, both are capable of wild streaks and, consequently, often like to serve up a big inning or two. This will be only Williams' second start since he fell foul of a nasty asthma attack, raising questions about his stamina in the probable midday Detroit humidity, whilst Scherzer was hit hard in his last appearance, allowing four runs and nine hits in five innings when he faced the Baltimore Orioles. The Tigers managed seven runs last night, and the Angels put a 13-spot up on the board the night before, indicating that a high-scoring affair could be on the cards tonight. At even money, over nine runs scored looks to be the call.