The Mariners will face a tough road over the next month as they attempt to duplicate, or exceed, last year’s 75-87 record. They play the Angels in a Sunday matinee.
GAME: Angels (55-70, 4th, AL West, -17.5 GB) at Mariners (58-62, 3rd, AL West, -14.5 GB). GAME #: 129. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 16th (Angels lead 8-7). WHEN: Sunday, 1:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Angels W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Based on the torrents of optimism that spewed out of spring training, the Mariners were hopeful — in fact, confident — that they would be able to play .500 or above this season and show significant progress coming off an 11th consecutive season of no playoffs. Obviously, it hasn’t happened. The Mariners are going to have their hands full trying to match last year’s 75-87 record.
Seattle enters Sunday’s series-ender with the Angels with at 59-69 after 128 games. Last year after 128, the Mariners were 61-67. That’s not a lot of difference, but it certainly isn’t progress. It means the Mariners are going to have to play well above .500 the rest of the way in order to match last year.
After Sunday, the Mariners will have 10 series left, 32 games. More than half are against playoff contenders, including Texas (6), Tampa Bay (3), St. Louis (3), Detroit (4) and Oakland (3). Three more are against Angels, who beat the Mariners 5-1 Saturday night.
The Mariners play seven others against Kansas City, a team Seattle has yet to face. That leaves seven against lowly Houston. The Mariners 7-5 against the Astros, hardly noteworthy considering the Astros probably won’t finish with 50 wins. The Mariners likely have to win all seven against Houston in order to match last year’s record.
The Mariners will entrust the ball to Aaron Harang Sunday. This, as Wilson Mizner might have said, makes coffee nervous. Harang is 0-3 with a 10.03 in three starts against the Halos this season and 0-4, 6.84 in six career outings.
Jered Weaver hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his former All-Star self and will enter Sunday having allowed 13 earned runs in his last 11 innings. But he’s 12-8 against the Mariners. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.49 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 22nd start and fourth against the Angels. Harang has allowed one or fewer runs while pitching at least 5.0 innings three times in his last six starts. In his last outing, against the A’s, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball, giving up five hits, walking one and striking out three.
ANGELS: RHP Jered Weaver (7-7, 3.62 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
The 30-year-old Weaver, in his eighth major league season, all with the Angels, will make his 19th start and second against the Mariners. Since finding a rhythm in late June, the former All-Star has hit a bit of a speed bump.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|8/25||Sun||vs. LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (7-7)|
|8/26||Mon||vs. Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (10-12) vs. LHP Travis Blackley (1-1)|
|8/27||Tue||vs. Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6) vs. LHP Derek Holland (9-6)|
|8/28||Wed||vs. Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (12-7) vs. LHP Martin Perez (7-3)|