Los Angeles (69-62) at Seattle (61-69)

  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Mon Aug 28, 2006
  • TV: KCOP, FSNW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Seattle Mariners will try to end a 20-game losing streak to AL West opponents when they open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field on Monday.

Seattle (61-69) completed a 5-1 stretch against AL East opponents with a 6-3 victory over Boston on Sunday. The Mariners are 23-15 against teams from the East, but it’s been a different story versus divisional rivals against whom they’re 10-32.

“It’s been loud, with a lot of energy in the ballgames, just a lot of fun,” closer J.J. Putz said. “Now we have to turn the corner against the AL West and play hard against those guys, too.

Seattle has returned home since an 0-11 road trip—against division opponents—to put together some good baseball. Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam on Sunday to help the Mariners complete a three-game sweep of the Red Sox.

“It definitely means something after that road trip we had, bouncing back the way that we have,” Ibanez said. “We’re staying focused and playing hard and doing the right things. Hopefully we can continue that.”

The Mariners have dropped seven straight to the Angels (69-62) after winning seven of the first nine matchups this season. Their last win against an AL West foe came at Los Angeles 6-2 on June 11.

Ibanez is 14-for-28 over his last eight games for Seattle. He’s also posted three straight multihit efforts against the Angels.

Los Angeles remained 5 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West race after falling 11-8 to the New York Yankees on Sunday. The Angels completed a 7-3 homestand that started with a four-game sweep of the Mariners from Aug. 17-20.

“If you keep playing well, you can end up controlling that,” Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy said. “Hopefully, Oakland stumbles a bit, but we have to just keep playing baseball.”

Los Angeles’ Vladimir Guerrero is hitting .436 (24-for-55) with 15 RBIs during a season-high 14-game hitting streak.

Angels starter Kelvim Escobar (9-11, 3.87) is 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA over his last three starts. He gave up five runs and six hits over eight innings in a 5-4 loss to Boston on Wednesday.

“I gave up five runs in the first two innings, but I didn’t think I was missing that much,” Escobar said.

It marked the second time in three starts that he’s allowed two homers after doing so just twice in his first 21 outings. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA in three starts this year against the Mariners—all at home.

Escobar is making his first start of the season at Seattle. In six career starts there, he is 2-1 with a 4.23 ERA.

The Mariners have indicated that they will cut down on their use of Felix Hernandez (10-12, 5.81) in the final month of the season.

Hernandez, who will start Monday, is showing signs of slowing down after going 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA over his last three outings. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, in a 9-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.

“Every game I try to establish my fastball,” Hernandez said. “It was just missing the zone by a little today.”

The 20-year-old right-hander, who has pitched a career-high 151 2-3 innings, is 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA in three starts against the Angels this year.

Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is 5-for-12 against Escobar this year after going 5-for-27 against him in his first five seasons.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Escobar MIL vs. F. Hernández SEA
11-14 Record 12-14
3.61 ERA 4.52
147 K 176
50 BB 60
1.28 WHIP 1.34

Scoreboard

Monday, Aug 28