O no: Angels continue to draw a blank

O no: Angels continue to draw a blank

MINNEAPOLIS -- With Albert Pujols signed and Kendrys Morales healthy, the Angels' offense was expected to be much improved this season.

So far, though, at least one stat points to it being the worst in franchise history.

The Angels were shut out for the seventh time this season on Tuesday, when soft-tossing Twins lefty Scott Diamond laid the foundation with seven innings. The seven shutouts not only lead the Majors; they are the most the Angels have had through the first 31 games of a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I didn't know it was that high, to be honest," said Mark Trumbo, one of few who has pulled his weight while batting .293 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 23 games. "That's just not going to cut it."

The Angels came into the series finale against the Twins ranked 12th in the American League in runs per game, and 11th in homers, OPS and batting average with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, the Rangers, against whom the Angels start a three-game road series on Friday, lead in all those categories except home runs, and there they trail only the Yankees.

Only Kendrys Morales (.318) is batting over .300 on the Angels, while seven -- Vernon Wells (.240), Alberto Callaspo (.234), Bobby Wilson (.217), Erick Aybar (.200), Chris Iannetta (.197), Peter Bourjos (.192) and Pujols (.190) -- are batting .240 or below.

What can be done about the offensive struggles?

From a front-office standpoint, nothing -- except wait.

Angels hitters certainly don't lack in track record. Five of their 13 position players have hit at least 25 homers in a season (Torii Hunter, Trumbo, Wells, Morales and Pujols), four have been All-Stars (Howie Kendrick, Hunter, Wells and Pujols) and one (Mike Trout) profiles as one of the best young players in baseball.

Somewhere in that group, the Angels believe they have a dynamic offense waiting to bust out. And somewhere in that clubhouse, there's a belief that a lot will change once Pujols -- 1-for-10 since his first home run, and still without a multihit game since April 19 -- reverts back to his usual self.

The wait continues.

"These guys are all doing what they historically do to kind of get back into their game and the rhythm, and they're working hard at it," said manager Mike Scioscia, who has already trotted out a Major League-leading 28 lineup combinations. "You just have to stay the course at times. This group of guys will play at a higher level, and they will hit better, and our bullpen will come together, all the things we've been talking about all season. But we just need to keep moving in that direction, and I think the confidence in this team will grow."