The Los Angeles Angels can’t be happy that interleague play is on the verge of coming to a close. What they can relish, however, is a chance to face the NL West’s last-place team.
The Angels have built up baseball’s best interleague record exclusively against the West, and they’ll try to continue their dominance Friday night when they play the first of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Los Angeles (38-32) fell to .500 after losing four of five games heading into a 15-game stretch of interleague play that began on June 12. The Angels have bounced back, though, winning nine of 12 heading into Arizona, with their two latest victories coming over red-hot Colorado.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Los Angeles came in Wednesday’s 11-3 romp over the Rockies. Vladimir Guerrero(notes) ended a 28-game home run drought with a two-run shot and added an RBI double, lifting the Angels’ interleague record to 11-4.
“We’re seeing, hopefully, the start of something good,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site. “Vlad looked like he was relieved. I think you have to understand Vlad, how much he competes internally. He understands his talent, how good he is, and wants to be the best he can be.”
Los Angeles is 9-1 this season when Guerrero drives in a run.
Weaver, though, had a rare poor performance Saturday against the cross-town rival Dodgers - all while being outpitched by older brother Jeff. Jered gave up a season-high six runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings in a 6-2 loss.
“It’s one of those games where you wish you could have it back,” Weaver said. “I couldn’t get the ball down for the most part. Some balls were up, and they didn’t miss them. No excuses. I go out and pitch every game the same way.”
Weaver hasn’t faced Arizona (30-43), but walking into Chase Field for the first time shouldn’t be too intimidating. The Diamondbacks haven’t won a series at home in their last seven, losing six and tying one.
They had a chance to take two of three from Texas by winning Thursday, but couldn’t get past the Angels’ chief competitors in the AL West. Arizona rallied from a late two-run deficit on Mark Reynolds’(notes) tying homer - his second of the game - in the eighth, but went on to lose 9-8 in 12 innings.
“I can’t put my finger on why we’re not winning more games,” Reynolds said. “We just need things to click, and they’re just not clicking. That’s the way our whole season’s been going.”
Dropping a 12-inning game wasn’t the only loss for the Diamondbacks on Thursday, however. Outfielder Eric Byrnes(notes) broke a bone in his left hand after being hit by a pitch and will miss four to eight weeks.
Billy Buckner(notes) (2-4, 7.15) has been a negative exception. He’s 0-3 with a 9.72 ERA over his last three starts, though his best effort in that stretch came Saturday at Seattle, where he gave up four runs in six innings - striking out seven - in a 7-3 loss.
Buckner has never faced Los Angeles.
The Angels’ last visit to Arizona came June 23-25, 2006, when they took two of three.