ANAHEIM – The Los Angeles Angels are hot once again. After taking the three-game series against a thin Yankees roster, the Halos look to resume their winning ways against the Seattle Mariners.
Mike Scioscia‘s club has experienced a surge in offensive production as of late. And the pitching hasn’t been all that bad, either. The Angels’ have proven that they can beat just about anyone when both offense and defense align.
Sunday afternoon started off promising but would result in the Angels’ three-game winning streak coming to an abrupt end with Albert Pujols striking out with the bases juiced in the ninth. Jered Weaver surrendered five runs in the third inning – enough to propel the Yankees to an eventual 6-5 victory in the rubber match of the series.
The Seattle Mariners (31-39) were in a similar situation on Sunday – the M’s were looking for the sweep at Oakland but ended up getting beat by some serious offensive production, losing 10 – 2 against the division leading Athletics. Interesting note: Seattle has yet to sweep a series this season.
Game One: Former Long Beach State 49er Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.74 ERA) takes the mound against Seattle’s Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA). Vargas took the loss against the Orioles despite only giving up one run through the first six innings on Tuesday. Vargas gave up three straight two-out infield singles in the seventh, then proceeded to watch Scott Downs give up the game-winner.
Game Two: Mike Scioscia skipped Joe Blanton (1-10, 5.87) against New York last week and it paid dividends. Blanton looks to get back on track against the Mariners – he has reportedly been making “adjustments” with Angels’ pitching coach Mike Butcher. Seattle will counter with Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 3.86). The veteran right-hander continued to perform well for Seattle throwing eight scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Astros. Bonderman has allowed just one run in 14 innings.
Game Three: C.J. Wilson (5-5, 3.90) gets the call against former Angel Joe Saunders (5-6, 4.80 ERA). Wilson is often criticized for his inconsistent starts but (despite his familiar shakey inning) he was able to work out of a jam and collect the win against the Yankees. Saunders is 2-1, 2.29 with 13 strikeouts in his last three starts. Saunders earned the win on Friday against the A’s, allowing one run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings.
Game Four: Tommy Hanson (4-2, 3.94) takes the hill against Mariners Ace, Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.32). No one is confident when their team is facing Felix, but “The King” holds a career 7-12 record with a 3.96 ERA against the Angels. Hanson worked quickly (except when it came to holding runners on) and efficiently in his last start against the Yankees. He used only 84 pitches in 6.1 innings while striking out a season-high eight batters. Oh, yeah, and he’s never lost in the month of June. So, there is that.