The left-handers meet Friday night in the opener of three-game series at Angel Stadium.
Kazmir allowed two runs and three hits while striking out eight over 6 1-3 innings of his Angels debut, a 3-0 loss at Seattle on Sept. 2. Six days later, he yielded one run over seven innings of a 3-2, 10-inning win over the Mariners in Anaheim. A blown save by Brian Fuentes(notes) cost Kazmir the victory.
Kazmir (3-4, 6.09 ERA) has struggled at times in his first full season with the Angels (23-26), but turned in a strong effort in his last outing, surrendering three runs and three hits over seven innings of a 10-7 victory at St. Louis on Saturday. He retired 17 straight at one point.
“That’s the way he can pitch,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He has the potential to do that every time out.”
So does Lee (2-2, 3.44), although he is coming off one of the worst starts of his career. He matched a career high with eight runs allowed while giving up a season-high 11 hits in a 15-8 win over San Diego last Friday.
Lee, though, appears to have a good chance to get back on track Friday. He won his last three starts against Los Angeles with a 1.80 ERA, pitching complete games the last two.
Seattle (18-28) is looking to win three straight for the first time since April 19-21 after rallying in the eighth inning to beat Detroit in consecutive games. Milton Bradley(notes) delivered the winning single in a 5-3 victory Tuesday, and Mike Sweeney(notes) hit a two-run homer and Josh Wilson(notes) had a two-run single as the Mariners came from three runs down to win 5-4 on Wednesday.
“We really needed a defibrillator to come in here and give us a shock because we didn’t have a heartbeat for quite some time,” Sweeney said. “We lost some tough games that zapped some out of us but the last couple of games have been huge for us.”
All six of Sweeney’s homers have come in his last 10 games, and he hit two in Lee’s last outing. Sweeney is batting .441 with 13 RBIs during that stretch.
Ichiro Suzuki(notes), hitting a team-high .335, went 0 for 9 with four strikeouts in the two-game series against Detroit. However, he was 5 for 13 as the Mariners dropped two of three to the visiting Angels from May 7-9.
Chone Figgins(notes) makes his return to Angel Stadium after signing with Seattle in the offseason. The second baseman went 0 for 10 in this month’s series at Safeco Field and is batting .194 overall.
Juan Rivera(notes) was limited to a pinch-hitting role in Wednesday’s 6-5 victory over Toronto due to a bruised left knee, but the Angels left fielder will likely be in the lineup Friday. Rivera is 5 for 12 with three homers versus Lee.
Los Angeles has won four straight at home against Seattle.