The Los Angeles Angels have excelled on the road all year - and it’s helped them move closer to gaining home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Angels play their final road game of the regular season on Thursday night when they meet the Seattle Mariners for the last time in 2008.
Los Angeles (98-60) has set a franchise record for most road victories this season with a major league-leading 49, including six in the first nine games of this road trip. The AL West champions are one win shy overall of matching their franchise-record of 99 set in 2002 when they won their only World Series title.
The Angels still have something to play for in the final four days of the season as they have a magic number of three over AL East leader Tampa Bay to gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Mark Teixeira snapped a tie in the eighth inning with a solo homer - his 33rd of the season - in a 6-5 victory on Wednesday. It was Teixeira’s fourth hit of the game, and the slugger is batting .412 (14-for-34) with three homers and eight RBIs on this road trip.
“I am very focused on finishing the last four games and getting home-field advantage,” Teixeira told the Angels’ official Web site. “This game is tough enough to play that day. You can’t be thinking about next week.”
Closer Francisco Rodriguez got the final three outs to increase his major league-record save total to 62. Rodriguez is 9-for-10 in save chances against Seattle this year, including 5-for-5 at Safeco Field.
It’s been a far different season for Seattle (58-100), which has lost 100 games for the first time since 1983. The Mariners have lost 13 of their last 16 meetings with the Angels.
“This (loss) felt about the same as other losses - agonizing,” Mariners manager Jim Riggleman told the team’s official Web site.” We have lost games so many times when we should have busted the game open, but didn’t, and then given up leads late in the game.”
The Angels have done an excellent job in this series and all season long at keeping Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki off the basepaths. Suzuki is 2-for-14 in this series and hitting .214 (18-for-84) against Los Angeles this season. He’s three runs shy of reaching 100 for the eighth straight season.
Los Angeles’ Dustin Moseley (2-4, 7.15 ERA) has lasted past the fifth inning just three times in his nine starts this year. One of them was Saturday at Texas as he pitched five-plus innings and allowed three runs and did not get a decision in a 7-3 victory.
This will be Moseley’s second career start against the Mariners after the right-hander gave up four runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 4-2 loss in Anaheim on April 20.
Cesar Jimenez (0-2, 3.56) is expected to make his third career start, and second of the season for Seattle. The left-hander only lasted three scoreless innings on Sept. 10 against Texas, yielding only one hit in an 8-7 victory during his lone 2008 start.