(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will try to avoid a
three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon as
the teams close out the first half of the 2013 season.
On Saturday night, Felix Hernandez proved why he's one of best pitchers in the
game and why he's once again an All-Star as he led the Mariners to a 6-0
Hernandez (10-4) pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing seven hits while
walking none to give him double-digit wins before the All-Star break for the
first time in his young career.
Justin Smoak was 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI. Raul Ibanez, Kendrys
Morales, Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders all collected two hits apiece as
well, with Ibanez driving home his 55th run of the season.
Jered Weaver (3-5) was far from his best for the Angels, exiting after 5 2/3
innings having allowed nine hits and four earned runs.
Los Angeles was shut out for already the seventh time this season. Howie
Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo had two hits each in the setback, while Mike
Trout added his eighth triple of the year.
The Angels on Sunday will send to the hill a struggling Joe Blanton, who is
hoping to improve upon a dreadful campaign (2-11, 5.40 ERA).
Blanton actually showed marked improvements in June, sporting a 3.44 ERA and a
0.91 WHIP in 34 innings, but he has fallen back on hard times in two July
outings, allowing 10 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, including a July 9 loss to
Chicago (5 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 6 ER).
Despite his sub par season, Blanton has actually pitched well against the
Mariners, posting a 3.55 ERA while striking out 16 in 12 2/3 innings, although
he's just 0-1 to show for it.
Seattle will counter with Hisashi Iwakuma, who has been spectacular in his
second season with a 7-4 record and a 2.97 ERA. His efforts earned him a spot
on the American League All-Star roster, but since he's pitching the final
Sunday of the first half, he will not participate in Tuesday's Mid-Summer
Even though Iwakuma boasts some gaudy numbers at this point in the season,
including an AL-leading 0.92 WHIP, he's pitched poorly in recent weeks. The
right-hander has gone winless in five straight starts, allowing four earned
runs or more in each outing. His worst performance of the season came on July
9 in an 11-8 loss to Boston, where he surrendered eight hits and six earned
runs in just three innings of work.
"I think my pitches are catching too much of the plate the last couple of
starts," Iwakuma said through a translator. "I need to work on that. We have
some time to make adjustments and that's what I need to do."
In 12 matchups against one another so far this year, the Angels and Mariners
have split the contests six games apiece.
The Sports Network