Major league clubs are scoring the fewest runs per game since 1992, and the drought out west is particularly to blame.
The Angels were shut out Saturday and Sunday by Boston and take a 19-inning scoreless streak into Monday night's series opener against Oakland. No wonder Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter were among those taking early batting practice in Anaheim at 3 Monday afternoon.
The Mariners rank 12th after, in 2010, scoring the fewest runs during a season (513) of any team in the designated-hitter era (since 1972).
Over in the NL, the Padres were shut out in back-to-back games last Thursday and Friday by the Phillies and have scored the fewest runs in the league. If you want to know how feeble to Padres' sticks are, just check in with tonight's starter, Dustin Moseley: The Padres have not scored one single run during the 25 2/3 innings Moseley has been on the mound this season. He's 0-3 with a 1.40 ERA.
The Padres hitters' 186 strikeouts is the most in the majors. Already in games in 2011, the Phillies' Roy Halladay has fanned 14 Padres and the Giants' Tim Lincecum 13. Brad Hawpe has whiffed 22 times in 51 at-bats.
As for the Angels and Athletics, who are set to open a three-game series in Anaheim tonight, the Angels, having been shut out in each of their past two games, have only been blanked three times in a row once in club history. That happened in June, 1978. They've never been shut out three in a row at home.
"Right now, particularly guys we've been counting on to hit in the middle of the lineup, guys are struggling," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "We have a few 3 for 30s -- Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Howie Kendrick ... we've got a pretty strong grouping in the middle that has been struggling for probably the last 10 games collectively.
"If it's just one or two guys, you can rotate them around and get better groupings. But that's not really an option for us right now. We just have to let guys who have hit their whole career hit."
As for the A's, they were blanked for 20 consecutive innings before breaking through against Seattle on Saturday and Sunday with 9-1 and 5-2 victories.
Manager Bob Geren pretty much describes the same scenario Scioscia describes with his Angels.
"Collectively, we had nine guys struggling at once," Geren says. "We have three or four guys really coming out of it now, and some others are feeling better.
"There's definitely a lot better feeling each inning now."
The Athletics were 15th in the AL in runs scored on Saturday morning and still have scored the fifth-fewest total in the AL (80). Their 10 homers are the second-fewest in the majors.
Likes: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel's current deal taking him through the age of 69. After that? "We'll see," Manuel says. ... The Mets' new custom of periodically having players make phone calls to fans, as explained here by our Evan Brunell in Morning Pepper. ... The return of Treme to HBO on Easter evening. ... Great job, Toyota, bringing back the J.Geils Band -- or, at least their music, in the ad featuring the song Just Can't Wait. ... The new disc due from Emmylou Harris, whose voice is one of this country's great natural resources.
Dislikes: Jose Contreras to the DL. Just when he was in the process of reinventing himself yet again. What a job he's done as a closer. Though for you pitch count aficionados, there's this: Contreras was DL'd after throwing 81 pitches over a five-day span. And the Phils allowed Cole Hamels to throw 126 pitches on Friday and Roy Halladay to throw 130 on Sunday. It was, though, only against the Padres. So it wasn't like every pitch was taxing.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"To workers I'm just another drone
"To Ma Bell I'm just another phone
"I'm just another statistic on a sheet
"To teachers I'm just another child
"To IRS I'm just another file
"I'm just another consensus on the street
"Gonna cruise out of this city
"Head down to the sea
"Gonna shout out at the ocean
"Hey it's me"
-- Bob Seger, Feel Like a Number