American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 18
(All times Eastern)
Seattle Mariners (51-44) at L.A. Angels of Anaheim (57-37), 10:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 2.98)
LA Angels - Jered Weaver (10-6, 3.45)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will try to pick up
right where they left off when they begin the second half of the season Friday
night against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium.
The American League West is essentially a three-team race, with the Angels and
Mariners both in the thick of it. Oakland, which boasts the best record in the
majors, currently holds a 1 1/2-game lead over the Angels, who went into the
All-Star break winners of five straight and 10 of their last 11 games after
completing a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers.
In fact, their 57 wins before the All-Star break are a franchise record.
"When you're looking at the last 50 games, we're playing at the level we need
to play," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's the challenge of the
season. The last 20 games have been a tremendous run. Hopefully, they're
poised well for holding up in a pennant race. Right now, we want to make sure
guys stay fresh and healthy and continue to perform."
Seattle finds itself all alone in third place in the AL West, eight games
behind Oakland and 6 1/2 back of the Halos. At the moment, the Mariners hold
the AL's second wild card spot.
Staff ace Felix Hernandez is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA, numbers good enough to earn
him the start in this week's All-Star game. Third baseman Kyle Seager earned
his first invite to the Midsummer Classic thanks to his team-best 15 home runs
and 63 RBI. Newcomer Robinson Cano, signed to a 10-year, $240 million deal in
the offseason, leads the team in runs scored (49), batting average (.334), on-
base percentage (.393) and OPS (.855) to go along with 57 RBI. The bullpen
leads the majors with a 2.39 ERA, a stark contrast from last year's unit that
posted a 4.58 ERA.
"I think if we continue to pitch the way we're pitching and if we stay healthy
from an offensive standpoint, we've got as good a shot as anybody else,"
manager Lloyd McClendon said.
McClendon will give the ball to Hisashi Iwakuma to start Friday's series
opener. Iwakuma missed the first month of the season with a torn finger
tendon, but he has been downright nasty over his last three starts, going 3-0
with a 1.25 ERA while striking out 25 batters and walking nobody.
Iwakuma is 5-0 with a 1.49 career ERA against the Angels.
He will be opposed by Jered Weaver, who threw seven innings of two-run ball
against Texas on Saturday after a back injury forced him to exit his previous
start early. Weaver has given up only two hits over his last 29 2/3 innings,
although he has surrendered 16 homers on the season.
The M's have taken six of the nine meetings between these two teams so far
07/18 10:54:02 ET