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.
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.
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.