The Mariners begin a two-game series in Anaheim Tuesday and, following a day off Thursday, will return to Safeco Field Friday for a three-game series against AL West leader Texas.
GAME: Mariners (20-25, 3rd, AL West, -9.0 GB) at Angels (17-27, 4th, AL West, -11.5 GB). GAME #: 46. SERIES: 1st of 2 games. MEETING: 5th (Mariners lead 3-1). WHEN: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m., Angels Stadium. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Angels W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Three walk-off losses in a four-game span is bad enough, but imagine the grief Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik would be taking today if he’d actually been successful in his pursuit of free agent Josh Hamilton last winter. For a $125 million outlay, Zduriencik would have a .216 OBP free agent bust on his hands. Instead, Hamilton is a headache, one of several that belong to the Los Angeles Angels.
A year ago, the Angels committed $240 million to free agent Albert Pujols, who went on to hit .285 with 30 home runs. But this year, Pujols is at .241 with seven home runs and a .732 OPS. Kyle Seager has a .795 OPS and Michael Morse, with 10, nearly as as many home runs as Hamilton and Pujols combined (12).
Although Pujols, according to writers who track the Angels daily, will probably never resemble the player he was in St. Louis, there’s still plenty of time for Hamilton to right himself, although his .216 on-base percentage and .622 OPS are clearly not what the Angels had in mind. A bigger question is whether the Angels have time to right themselves.
Although they’ve won two in a row, most recently a 6-2 decision over the White Sox behind the pitching of former Mariner Jason Vargas, the Angels enter Tuesday’s first of a two-game set against the Mariners 11.5 games out of first in the AL West, a large part of that due to poor pitching.
The Angels rank 13th in the AL in ERA (4.77) and 14th in earned runs allowed (214). With three walk-off losses in Cleveland, two via home runs, the Mariners shouldn’t gloat.
Tuesday, the Angels will go with Jerome Williams, a converted reliever who will oppose Seattle’s apparently mended Aaron Harang.
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (1-4, 7.30 ERA, 1.41, WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his sixth start and second against the Angels. Harang failed to make his last start due to stiffness in his back, and hasn’t pitched since May 7 when he took a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh. Harang recorded his only win May 1 when defeated Baltimore 8-3, allowing two earned runs over 6.0 innings.
ANGELS: RHP Jerome Williams (2-1, 3.05 ERA, 1.09 WHIP).
The 31-year-old native of Hawaii, in his eighth major league season and third with the Angels, will make his fourth start and first against the Mariners. Williams has also appeared 11 times in relief, including once against Seattle. He has made three consecutive starts, with a win, a loss and a no-decision. He has pitched into the sixth inning in each of his last two.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|5/21||Tue||at LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. Jerome Williams (2-1)|
|5/22||Wed||at LAA||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5) vs. C.J. Wilson (3-3)|
|5/24||Fri||vs. Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (3-4) vs. RHP Justin Grimm (3-3)|
|5/25||Sat||vs. Tex.||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-3) vs. LHP Derek Holland (3-2)|
|5/26||Sun||vs. Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) vs. TBA|