Though the Los Angeles Angels are already assured of making the playoffs, they’re hoping to build momentum for their postseason run.
The Angels look to continue their winning ways on Saturday when they play the third contest of their four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
Los Angeles (90-57)—owner of baseball’s best record—has won three straight and five of its last six games overall. The Angels have also won seven of nine at home, including Friday’s 5-3 walk-off triumph over lowly Seattle (57-89).
Mike Napoli hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth and finished with four RBIs for Los Angeles, which clinched its fourth AL West title in five seasons earlier this week. It has 15 games remaining to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“Just because we’ve clinched doesn’t mean we’re going to lie down,” Napoli said. “We’re all excited, but we’ve still got a lot of baseball to play.”
Los Angeles is 9-4 versus Seattle this season, but won Friday without reliever Francisco Rodriguez. He leads the league with 57 saves, and remains one shy of surpassing the all-time, single-season record that Bobby Thigpen set in 1990 with the Chicago White Sox.
Rodriguez has converted 11 of his last 12 save opportunities, and has recorded six saves in seven chances versus Seattle in 2008.
The 26-year-old closer has also saved seven of Jon Garland’s 13 victories this season, but his services weren’t needed for the starter on Monday.
Garland (13-8, 4.52 ERA) limited the New York Yankees to a run and six hits in seven innings of a 12-1 home victory. The Angels have won seven of his 10 starts since the All-Star break—a span in which he is 5-2 with a 5.12 ERA.
The right-hander has been tough to beat at home lately, leading the Angels to victory in six of his last seven starts in Anaheim. He has gone 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in those outings, winning his last three decisions there.
One of those wins came against Seattle on Aug. 12, when he gave up three runs and nine hits over seven innings of a 7-3 victory. He is 7-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 14 career appearances versus the Mariners.
Seattle’s Adrian Beltre has hit .353 (6-for-17) lifetime versus Garland, and had two hits and two RBIs in Friday’s loss. He extended his hitting streak to 15 games, going 28-for-62 (.452) with five homers and 13 RBIs in that stretch.
He’ll try to continue his hot hitting for the Mariners, who have slipped to 3-6 since their four-game winning streak from Aug. 29-Sept. 1.
Seattle hands the ball to Ryan Feierabend (1-2, 5.53), who earned his first win of the season on Sunday by holding the Yankees to two runs and five hits over seven innings of a 5-2 home victory. The left-hander started on short notice in place of Carlos Silva (back spasms).
“Sometimes, it happens that way,” manager Jim Riggleman told the Mariners’ official Web site. “A guy comes in not expecting to pitch, gets thrown in there without much time to think about it and has a good performance.”
Feierabend has conceded nine runs and 16 hits over 9 2-3 innings in losing two career starts against Los Angeles—both last season at Angel Stadium.
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