Blue Jays-Angels Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- While Albert Pujols' slump may be most glaring, the rest of the Los Angeles Angels haven't done much to pick up the slack for their struggling superstar.
After getting shut out in consecutive games, the Angels and Pujols will try to end their woes while denying the Toronto Blue Jays a season-high fifth straight win Saturday night.
Pujols' batting average dropped to .194 - easily a career low through a season's first 27 games - after he went 0 for 4 in Friday's 4-0 defeat to Toronto. The three-time NL MVP, 5 for 54 with one RBI over his last 14 games, has no home runs and five RBIs.
His 33-game, 137-at bat homerless drought in regular-season play is the longest in his career.
"I'm fine. I mean, this is baseball. It's a long year," Pujols said. "I've been in this situation before, so I need to have faith and stay strong, knowing this bad time will pass. If it's meant to be like this the whole year, I'll deal with it. But I'm a great hitter and I know I can hit."
The Angels (10-17), batting .239 as a team, have already been shut out six times and have scored three runs or fewer in 15 games.
A matchup with Kyle Drabek (2-2, 2.40 ERA) might not help them get back on track. The 24-year-old right-hander has yielded two runs or fewer in each of his five starts this season.
However, he's lost his last two outings while receiving one total run of support. His 4-1 loss to Texas on Monday is the only defeat over the last seven games for the Blue Jays (16-11).
Toronto has outscored opponents 43-18 during its 6-1 stretch, and has homered in eight consecutive contests. Jose Bautista hit his fifth of the season and second of the Blue Jays' four-game winning streak on Friday, but he's still batting only .177 in 2012.
"I'm trying to have good at-bats, but I'm not seeing too many pitches over the heart of the plate," Bautista said. "A lot of bad breaks have been going my way, and I just hope the tide turns soon."
C.J. Wilson (3-2, 2.70) will get the ball for the Angels on Saturday.
The left-hander lasted a season-high 7 1-3 innings in a 4-3 win over Minnesota on Monday, allowing all three runs but keeping the Twins scoreless until the eighth.
"The first seven innings were about as well as I've pitched all year," Wilson said.
Wilson didn't pitch well the last time he faced Toronto, getting tagged for seven runs and seven hits over 3 2-3 innings of a 7-3 defeat for Texas on July 31. He's 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays.
Drabek did not get a decision in his only start against the Angels on April 8, 2011, allowing two runs over six innings of a 3-2 Blue Jays victory in Anaheim.
Drabek has never faced Pujols, but Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick are each 3 for 4 in their career against him.
Blue Jays slugger Adam Lind is 4 for 7 off Wilson.
Toronto is seeking its first five-game winning streak since July 8-15.
The last four games at Angel Stadium have featured a complete-game shutout, including Jered Weaver's no-hitter for the home team Wednesday.
Updated May 5, 2012