The Los Angeles Angels have won 11 of their last 14 games and have recently started to get production from Josh Hamilton and the offense. That could spell doom for the Seattle Mariners, who host the Angels in the opener of a three-game set on Friday. The Mariners’ pitching staff was lit up for 30 runs in dropping three straight to the Boston Red Sox this week.
Hamilton has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games and homered twice in Wednesday’s 13-2 at the Chicago Cubs. The slugger has four homers and 10 RBIs in the last six games and has gotten hot along with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. Seattle has allowed 43 runs in losing five of its last six against the Angels.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net West (Los Angeles), Root Sports (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Jerome Williams (5-4, 4.16 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Joe Saunders (7-8, 4.51)
Williams has been crushed in his last two starts, allowing a combined 12 runs (11 earned) in 4 2/3 innings against St. Louis and Boston. The veteran right-hander has served as a dependable fill-in in the Los Angeles rotation in each of the last three seasons and is being asked to hold down a starting spot with Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson on the disabled list. Williams had his best start of the season against Seattle on May 21, yielding six hits in eight scoreless innings to pick up the win.
Saunders has held opponents to one earned run in six of the last eight starts, including the previous two. The 32-year-old allowed a run on six hits and did not walk a batter in seven innings to earn a win against Cincinnati on Sunday. Saunders, who was drafted by the Angels in 2002 and stayed with the organization until being traded during the 2010 campaign, went eight innings against his old mates on June 19, but was saddled with the loss in a 1-0 game.
1. Mariners rookie 2B Nick Franklin (right knee) sat out Thursday and is day-to-day.
2. Hamilton is 4-for-13 with a homer and six RBIs in his career against Saunders.
3. Seattle 3B Kyle Seager has hit in 11 straight games. His homer Thursday gave the team at least one blast in its 19th straight contest, tying a club record set Sept. 11-27, 1999.
PREDICTION: Mariners 7, Angels 6