Aces are wild in this AL West showdown featuring two teams that are searching for some type of momentum.
Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
Seattle is enjoying a three-game win streak (+307) and has won five of its last seven games due to an offensive resurgence. Over the last six games, the offense is batting .391 with runners in scoring position, which is a dramatic difference from batting .235 in the first 41 games of the season. This production has led to the team going over the total in four straight games for the first time all season. OF Ichiro Suzuki has never been the team’s problem during the month of May, coming in with the highest career batting average for a player with a minimum of 300 plate appearances (.363). The Mariners are 8-16 this month (-1,000) and have a horrible 27-54 (-3,110) record over the last three years in May.
Mariners SP Felix Hernandez is looking for his first victory this month, going 0-3 with a 5.86 ERA in five starts. Since April 26, Hernandez is 0-4 with a 5.19 ERA, with the team losing all six games (-878). The Mariners long-time ace is just 4-6 with a 4.63 ERA in 17 career starts against the Angels, including an 8-0 home loss on May 7. In that game, he allowed a season-high three round trippers and seven earned runs. He will be looking to pick up his first daytime victory, going 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA in three previous tries this season. Hernandez has compiled a solid 23-14 mark and 3.51 ERA in 51 career daytime starts.
Los Angeles was unable to hold a 2-0 lead last night, dropping an 8-3 decision at home to Seattle in the series opener. The club has still won five of its last seven home games, but is a disappointing 11-15 this month overall (-280). The Angels normally dominate division foes on their way to recent division titles, but are an even 6-6 (-60) this season. Much of the early season struggles can be blamed directly on the pitching staff. In the Angels’ 27 losses, the starting staff has a 7.30 ERA and opposing hitters are batting .330 against them. The bullpen currently ranks last in the American League and third-worst in the majors. From 2000-09, the bullpen had the best ERA in the AL over that span.
Angels SP Jered Weaver is winless in his last three starts and the Angels have dropped four of his last five overall (-300). The right-hander brings in a solid 9-3 record and 4.24 ERA in 15 career starts against the Mariners. He ended up on the winning end over Hernandez four starts back, tossing 7.1 shutout innings and allowing just two hits while striking out seven. Similar to Hernandez, he is looking for his first daytime victory, going 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA in three tries. Weaver has produced a phenomenal 29-13 mark and 3.18 ERA in 58 career starts at Angel Stadium.
From a betting perspective, the Angels have a big advantage in playing during the day. Los Angeles is just an even 8-8 (+60) this season, but has tallied an incredible 76-34 (+4,310) record over the last three seasons. Seattle is less-than-flattering 5-12 (-900) under the sun in 2010 and 52-65 (-1,090) since 2008.