Blue Jays-Angels Preview

Riding unprecedented power surges, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder

Jose Bautista and Los Angeles Angels catcher Mike Napoli might need

to contribute more homers with a pair of inconsistent starters

heading to the mound Wednesday night.

Bautista, the major league home run leader, will try to support

Brandon Morrow, while Napoli will attempt to give Joel Pineiro a

lift in the finale of a three-game set in Anaheim.

Bautista hit his eighth homer in 11 games and 15th overall

Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough in an 8-3 defeat.

Napoli helped put away that victory with his fifth homer in

eight contests, a solo shot in the sixth inning.

That power could be needed again with Morrow (3-4, 6.80 ERA) and

Pineiro (3-5, 5.00) heading to the mound.

Morrow is 1-2 with a 10.80 ERA in his last three starts and

couldn’t take advantage of his team’s six home runs Friday in

Arizona, including one from Bautista. He gave up six runs over four

innings in an 8-6 loss.

“It’s tough when you get six home runs and you lose,” said third

baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who hit three in that game.

With 17 1-3 scoreless innings heading into Friday’s start in St.

Louis, Pineiro seemed to have gotten past a three-game losing

streak during which he posted a 9.98 ERA. The right-hander, though,

was tagged for nine runs and nine hits in three innings in a 9-5

loss to his former team.

Napoli tried to help Pineiro with a go-ahead two-run homer in a

four-run second inning, but the right-hander allowed five runs in

his final frame, including a grand slam to Cardinals pitcher Brad

Penny.

“Just overall, it was embarrassing,” Pineiro said. “They just

hit me around.”

Pineiro hasn’t started against Toronto since a 7-3 win for

Seattle on July 24, 2006, and he’s 2-4 with a 4.70 ERA in eight

career starts versus the Blue Jays. Morrow lost his only career

start against the Angels – also for the Mariners – despite allowing

two runs in five innings on Sept. 11, 2008.

Napoli has a single and three strikeouts in his career against

the right-handed Morrow. Bautista, meanwhile, has doubled twice in

nine career meetings with Pineiro.

Pineiro, also right-handed, could get a boost with the return of

Torii Hunter. The Gold Glove outfielder was off Tuesday night while

attending his son’s high school graduation in Texas.

The status of Blue Jays outfielder and leadoff hitter Fred Lewis

is unknown after he was scratched due to a bunion on his left foot.

Lewis needed surgery to remove one from his right foot in 2008, but

manager Cito Gaston said this injury isn’t serious.

He could return Wednesday as the Blue Jays try for their first

road series win over the Angels since taking two of three May

17-18, 2006.