Angels Lose Pujols, Waste Quality Start From Richards

Returning to the starting rotation after almost three months toiling out of the bullpen, Garrett Richards was close to perfection over five innings yesterday, but the usually reliable set-up duo of Dane de la Rosa and Scott Downs handed victory from the jaws of defeat to the first place Athletics, despite the hindrance of their horrific throwback uniforms.

Downs came into the game with a streak of 30 straight appearances in which the opposition failed to score against him, but the first-ever pinch hit – a two run home run – from back-up A’s catcher Derek Norris turned the game around, denying Richards a victory after pitching five scoreless and leaving the game with a 1-0 lead.

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Worse yet for the Angels is the news that Albert Pujols’ bad left foot has now worsened to the point of his having to leave the club to return to SoCal for a new medical evaluation, an evaluation that revealed a partial tear of the plantar fascia, apparently suffered in Friday night’s game. He is now on the disabled list, and rumors are rampant that it could be 2013 curtains for Albert, which would be yet another blow to the consistently underachieving Angels.

Between them, Albert and Josh Hamilton are earning $33 M this season. Between them, they have hit 32 home runs and driven home 107, about what Miguel

Cabrera (32, 99) has done by himself, for $21 M. Cabrera is, however, batting 121 points higher (.362, .241) than the Angels’ duo.

This very frustrating season takes a new turn today, as the likelihood of finishing the season without Albert is a reality. Despite the Angels awful position six games under .500 and 12 games from the top of the AL’s Western Division, there has, until today, always been hope. Once Jered Weaver is healthy! Once Josh Hamilton starts hitting! Once Peter Bourjos and Ryan Madson get of the DL! Once a real starter takes Joe Blanton’s spot in the rotation! Once Oakland and Texas change leagues!

But now, today, it feels like that hope is gone, and that the Angels are destined to finish the season above only Houston in the West, perhaps not even good enough to end above Seattle.

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