The week ahead
Angels: The Angels haven't won a season series from Toronto since they won the World Series in 2002, and the Blue Jays might be the last team the sputtering Angels' offense wants to see right now. Toronto's pitchers have held opponents to a .305 on-base percentage, the lowest in the major leagues, and the low-pop Angels revolve around opportunistic hitting and baserunning, not the three-run home run. The Jays have Roy Halladay, Dustin McGowan and A.J. Burnett lined up to face the Angels.
Angels vs. Blue Jays, Tuesday through Thursday at Rogers Centre, Toronto.
Dodgers: Albert Pujols, perhaps the finest hitter in the game today, makes his only visit to Dodger Stadium this season. Pujols hit 282 home runs in his first seven seasons, second in major league history to Ralph Kiner. In 102 at-bats against the Dodgers' current pitching staff, Pujols has one home run. He hit it July 29, 2005, against Brad Penny. Jonathan Broxton made his major league debut that day, pitching one inning, and he faced Pujols too. Broxton struck him out.
Dodgers vs. Cardinals, Friday through Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
Elsewhere: The Royals have quietly put together the makings of a fine pitching staff, and they entered the weekend with a better ERA than the Red Sox. Zack Greinke (1.93 ERA) starts today, so the Red Sox will miss him, but Monday they'll look at Luke Hochevar, the first overall pick in the 2006 draft. In his last start, Hochevar pitched six shutout innings against the Tigers. And check out the closer comparison: Boston's Jonathan Papelbon has given up seven runs, 15 hits and two walks in 18 2/3 innings; Kansas City's Joakim Soria has given up two runs, five hits and two walks in 17 1/3 innings. The Red Sox need a starter for Tuesday and could call up ex-Angel Bartolo Colon from the minor leagues.
Royals vs. Red Sox, Monday through Thursday at Fenway Park, Boston.
Minor leaguers of the week
Dodgers: Cody White, lhp
White extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings Thursday, pitching the first six innings for Class-A Inland Empire in a 2-1 victory over Rancho Cucamonga. The streak is impressive on its face, even more so in the hitters' league that is the California League. In those 15 innings, he has given up eight hits, with eight walks and eight strikeouts. He's 4-2 with a 2.84 ERA, which ranks fifth in the league. White, 23, split last season between Inland Empire and Class-A Great Lakes, with a 10-8 record and 3.14 ERA.
Angels: Adam Greenberg, of
Greenberg, 27, saw one pitch in the major leagues. It hit him in the back of the head. That was in 2005, for the Cubs. The headaches and dizziness took months to go away, and by that time he'd become a guy with a 1.000 on-base percentage in search of a second chance at the majors. He has played in the minors since then, for the Cubs and Dodgers and Royals, and the Angels signed him out of the independent Atlantic League last week to fill an outfield vacancy at double-A Arkansas. In his first five games, he hit .409 with a .500 on-base percentage.
-- Bill Shaikin