Angels vs. Rays: Will Albert Pujols Hit His First Angels Home Run This Series?

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IApril 24, 2012

Albert Pujols has gone 65 at bats to begin the season and has yet to hit a home run. Can Pujols fill out the home run column in the series about to begin against the Tampa Bay Rays?

Unfortunately for Pujols, he will be facing some of the most dominant pitching in the American League. Here is a breakdown of the starting pitchers that he will face in the series.

On Tuesday night, he will take on hard-throwing lefty David Price. Although Price has not had a great start to the season, he is still one of the elite pitchers in the league.

He has allowed one home run on the season to this point. Last season, he allowed a career high 22 home runs, with 13 of them being hit at Tropicana Field.

Wednesday, Pujols will take on Jeremy Hellickson, who has allowed three home runs in three starts this season.

Last year, Hellickson allowed 21 home runs in 189 innings and 11 of them were allowed at his home park. Of the three starting pitchers he will face, Hellickson appears to be the most likely to give up a home run to Pujols.

Pujols will not receive a break in the series when he faces Matt Moore on Thursday. He is another Rays lefty that is off to a slow start and is much better than his numbers suggest. 

Just like Hellickson, Moore has allowed three home runs in three starts this season. Moore only pitched 9.1 innings last season and allowed one home run.

Last season, Tropicana Field achieved statistics that classified them as an "extreme pitchers' park" based on the park index (PI). Going by this calculation, a park with a PI of 100 is a neutral ballpark.

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 21:  Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim stands on first base after a walk in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 21, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumen
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Tampa's home ballpark is statistically the second-hardest park to hit a home run with a PI of 87, second only to San Diego.

It will not be impossible for Pujols to hit a home run in this series, but it won't be easy. This is not the easiest staff to figure out as he adjusts to the pitchers in the American League.

Bottom line is that if Pujols can resist thinking about hitting a home run, then it will eventually happen and the pressure will dissipate.