Albert and the Angels are making shutout history

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
It's not unheard of for a team to be shut out eight times in the first 36 games of a season.

The 2003 Tigers did it. Of course, they went on to lose 119 games.

The Padres did it last year. Of course, they'd just traded away their best hitter, Adrian Gonzalez. Their payroll was $46 million.

The Angels are paying Albert Pujols $46 million all by himself (not really, but you get the point).

And they've been shut out as many times in the first 36 games as any team in the last 95 years.

In the Angels' eight shutouts, Pujols has gone 3-for-31 (.097) -- which is even worse than his .225 average in games where the Angels do score a run.

For the season, Pujols is hitting .197 with a .510 OPS. Of the 134 players in the majors with 125 or more at-bats, only two have a lower OPS: Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox (.497) and Erick Aybar of the Angels (.455).

That's Aybar, who the Angels just signed to a $35-million, four-year contract extension.

The arrival of Pujols and the return to health of Kendrys Morales was supposed to revitalize an Angels offense that was 10th in the American League in runs scored last year. Instead, the Angels have fallen to 13th in the league, ahead of only the woeful Twins.

The Twins have spread out their runs enough that they've only been blanked three times so far. Other than the Angels, no team in the majors has been shut out more than four times this year.

The Tigers have been shut out just five times since the start of last season (and not at all this year). The Angels have been shut out eight times in 36 games.

In all, in the 95 years that baseball-reference.com can search through, 10 teams have been blanked eight times in the first 36 games of the season. No team has done it more than than that.

The Angels have had 14 seasons where they weren't shut out eight times all year.

Now they've been shut out eight times in 36 games. They've been shut out at home (four times) and on the road (four times). They've been shut out by pitchers born in the USA, and by pitchers born in Japan, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

They've been shut out in a game started by a guy with one career win (Scott Diamond of the Twins), and in a game started by a guy with 169 career wins (Derek Lowe of the Indians).

They've had three pitchers throw complete-game shutouts against them (David Price, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez). And it took four A's pitchers to complete the eighth shutout on Monday night.

They've been shut out five times when Ervin Santana was their starting pitcher. And three times when Dan Haren was their starting pitcher.

They have a ways to go to catch the 1963 Mets, who set the modern record by being shut out 30 times in a season. But they've got a good start.

Those Mets were shut out just five times in their 36 games. The Angels are already at eight.


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