Surprise, surprise. The notoriously slow-starting Los Angeles Angels have a little momentum heading into the All-Star break. The Halos will set up camp in Seattle to face the Mariners for a three game set.
The Angels have now won 11 of their last 14 games after absolutely crushing the Chicago Cubs 13-2 in the second game of their interleague series. There’s no doubt that the Halos are now one of the hottest teams in baseball, largely due to more consistent pitching and a red-hot offense that is just now starting to click. It’s 2012 all over again, only this season they waited a little longer to shift into gear. Better late than never, right?!
Williams threw eight scoreless innings the last time he faced the Mariners. He’s posted a respectable 4.16 ERA (5-4) but has struggled mightily in his last two starts, giving up four earned runs against the Boston Red Sox on July 6th and seven earned runs against the St. Louis Cardinals at the Big A.
The Mariners will counter with 6’3″ lefty Joe Saunders who is 7-8 while posting a 4.51 ERA. Saunders has struggled against his old teammates but recently held the Cincinnati Reds to one run during seven innings. Many fans recall that Saunders spent six seasons with the Angels from 2005-2010. During that time, Saunders went 54-32 with a 4.29 ERA and was always well received by the fans in Anaheim.
No. 36 is coming off of the birth of his newborn son “Aden” and a phenomenal performance against the Red Sox. Weaver (3-4, 3.38 ERA) gave up only five hits and no earned runs while striking out six Boston batters in 6 2/3 innings. Velocity issues or not, Weaver looks primed and ready for the second half of the season.
King Felix (4-2, 3.82 ERA) looked equally as good against the Red Sox on Monday, picking up the win after allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in seven innings. Season after season it’s business as usual for Hernandez.
“Say it ain’t so, Joe” Blanton will take the mound for the Halos and face Hisashi Iwakuma in the rubber match of the series. Blanton (2-11, 5.40 ERA) has been a constant topic of conversation among the Halo Faithful. Just when you think Blanton has it figured out, he lands in Chicago and gets absolutely pummeled at Wrigley. Blanton took the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits – including four home runs and three walks with three strikeouts in five innings against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Performances like this one provide support to those pleading for Scioscia to take Blanton out of the rotation.
The Mariners will start Hisashi Iwakuma (2-3, 3.97 ERA). Unlike Weaver and Williams, the Mariners’ Iwakuma wasn’t as fortunate against the Red Sox in his last start, lasting only three innings and taking the no-decision after giving up six runs on eight hits (three of which were home runs). The Angels are hoping to follow Boston’s lead and take a few deep at Safeco Field to provide the run-support that the Angels’ pitching staff usually needs.