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The Angels, their money and Joe Blanton

By Gary Hill

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim opened the vault and shoveled a massive pile of money into the pockets of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson before last season. The Angels finished third in the American League West and missed the playoffs. They decided to double-down and ink Josh Hamilton, Joe Blanton and Ryan Madson to a jaw-dropping $149.5 million before this campaign.

Blanton signed for more money than Hisashi Iwakuma over the offseason and has produced a ghastly 1-10 record with an elevated 5.87 ERA. Hamilton is hitting .217 on the season with a .669 OPS. His OPS is 128th in baseball, which is just behind J.P Arencibia of Toronto and Michael Brantley of Cleveland. Madson has not even thrown a pitch this year.

The Angels’ Joe Blanton will take a 1-10 record and a 5.87 ERA into Tuesday’s start against the Mariners. (AP)

Expectations were again ratcheted up to lofty heights thanks to the lavish spending, but the Angels are still left grasping for positive results. They are currently sitting 10 games out in the AL West despite winning four of their past five games.

The Angels are 26th in baseball in ERA (4.32). They maintain the worst fielding percentage (.978) in baseball. They are inside the top 10 in runs scored, but the offense has not met expectations given a lineup that features Mike Trout, Pujols, Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.

However, the Angels team the Mariners have witnessed does not bare resemblance to the struggling one they read about. The Angels are leading the season series 4-3 and have scored 39 runs against Seattle, which is the most versus any team. They are hitting .311 with 23 extra-base hits. They also boast a 2.70 ERA against Seattle this year, which is the lowest against any team other than Detroit (1.16 ERA).

The Mariners will try and reverse their fortunes against Blanton tonight. He has the 23rd-worst winning percentage (.091) in history for players who have started at least 13 games in a season. Former Mariner Mike Parrott is third on the list thanks to a 1-16 record in 1980.

As a complete aside, Jack Nabors is second on the list after compiling a 1-20 record in 1916 for the Philadelphia Athletics. His only win came in his third game of the season when he shut down Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox. He pitched nine innings and did not give up an earned run to improve his record to 1-1. He would drop 19 in a row and never win another Major League game. He ended his brief three-year career with a 1-25 record overall.

Meanwhile, Blanton has yielded a whopping 111 hits in just over 76 innings this season. He has only allowed fewer than seven hits in a start one time this year. He has also coughed up six homers in his last 14 2/3 innings.

The Mariners will try and get the lumber going tonight to even this series at 1-1.