Los Angeles (20-19) at Seattle (19-22)

Fair Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 41° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Thu May 21, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With injuries to two of the Los Angeles Angels’ top pitchers earlier in the season, Joe Saunders(notes) anchored the team’s starting rotation. The front-end of the rotation is now finally healthy, but Saunders is coming off a dreadful outing.

Saunders looks to bounce back against one of his favorite opponents Thursday night when the Angels wrap up a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.

With John Lackey(notes) (right forearm strain) and Ervin Santana(notes) (sprained right elbow) both missing the first six weeks of the season, Saunders (5-2, 3.59 ERA) was bumped to the front of the Los Angeles rotation.

Saunders, the opening day starter for the Angels (20-19), allowed two earned runs or less in five of his first seven starts, but he wasn’t as sharp his last time out.

After throwing a five-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Kansas City on May 9, Saunders was tagged for a season-high seven runs and eight hits - including three homers - in 5 1-3 innings of Friday’s 10-8 loss at Texas. His ERA climbed nearly a full point - jumping from 2.66.

“I tried to bring everything I had and obviously I didn’t have much to bring to the table stuff-wise,” the left-hander said. “I felt I was a little bit off in every aspect.”

Saunders fell to 0-4 with a 10.29 ERA in four starts at Texas, but he’s 20-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 28 starts as a visitor to other ballparks. He has posted a 1.86 ERA in winning his last three starts in Seattle (19-22), and allowed just one run and three hits in seven innings of a 5-1 victory at Safeco Field on April 16.

In five starts against the Mariners since the start of last season, Saunders is 4-0 with a 2.88 ERA.

The Angels were 14-5 against Seattle last year en route to winning a second straight AL West title, but they haven’t had as much luck against the Mariners this year.

Los Angeles managed a season-low three hits in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss, dropping to 4-5 against Seattle on the season.

Santana allowed one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings but was outdueled by Seattle’s Chris Jakubauskas(notes), who gave up two hits in six innings.

Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) had two hits and drove in the game’s only run, helping the Mariners win for the fourth time in 16 contests.

The 39-year-old Griffey, the active leader in home runs (615) and hits (2,704), is 5 for 9 with a homer and three RBIs in his last three games after a 1-for-12 slump.

Erik Bedard(notes) (2-1, 2.53) looks to help Seattle win back-to-back games for the first time since winning three in a row April 23-25 as he makes his first start in 11 days.

Bedard missed his last scheduled start because of a tight right hamstring and manager Don Wakamatsu said he’d likely be limited to 90-to-100 pitches.

In Bedard’s last start at Minnesota on May 10, the left-hander allowed two runs, five hits and a season-high five walks in a season-low 4 2-3 innings of a 5-3 victory. He threw a season-high 110 pitches.

Bedard has not received a decision in three starts since giving up three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-3 win over Los Angeles on April 24.

The Angels will likely be without one of their top hitters after Bobby Abreu(notes) left Wednesday’s game with a sprained left big toe. Manager Mike Scioscia said Abreu will miss a couple of days.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Saunders SEA vs. E. Bedard LAD
16-7 Record 5-3
4.60 ERA 2.82
101 K 90
64 BB 34
1.43 WHIP 1.19


Thursday, May 21