The Angels (91-63) try again to clinch their third division crown in four years when they continue a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night with the oft-injured Colon taking the mound.
The Angels’ magic number for winning the West remains one after Seattle (81-71) beat Los Angeles 6-0 on Friday. Adrian Beltre had three hits and drove in two runs and Jarrod Washburn held his former team to just five hits over seven innings.
“I think they’re the best team in the league, but I definitely wanted to knock them off and save their celebration at least one more day,” said Washburn, who was with the Angels from 1998-2005 and helped them win the World Series in 2002. “I didn’t approach it any differently than any other start.
“But I knew that if they won tonight, they’d get to celebrate - and I didn’t want that to happen. I’m going to be rooting for them and pulling for them.”
Los Angeles is 8 1/2 games ahead of Seattle with eight games remaining.
“Everybody knows what we need to do, we need to win a ball game,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “So that’s what we’ll do. We’ll look at tomorrow’s game, start from scratch, build some momentum.”
Colon (6-7, 6.68 ERA) is starting Saturday instead of Kelvim Escobar, who was pushed back due to inflammation in his shoulder.
Colon lasted just 4 2-3 innings against the White Sox in his last start on Sept. 14, when he allowed five runs - three earned - and eight hits in a 5-3 loss. It was Colon’s first start since leaving on July 23 with elbow irritation.
He remains winless since June 14 when he beat Cincinnati, and is winless against AL opponents since beating the Mariners on May 17.
The 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner, who was limited to just 10 starts in 2006 because of injuries, was scheduled to start on Wednesday, but was scratched because of stiffness in his back.
Two of Colon’s wins this season have come against the Mariners. He is 12-9 with a 4.45 ERA in 25 career starts against them.
The Mariners will counter with Miguel Batista (14-11, 4.51), who won for the first time in six starts on Monday against Oakland, giving up five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-0 win.
The right-hander is 4-4 with a 6.04 ERA in seven starts and five relief appearances against the Angels. He is 2-2 with a 5.92 ERA in four outings against them this year.
Manager John McLaren will return to Seattle’s bench on Saturday after serving a one-game suspension handed down by MLB earlier on Friday. McLaren was ejected and later suspended after reliever Jorge Campillo threw at Vladimir Guerrero twice during the Angels’ 9-5 win on Thursday.