Facing an NL opponent might be what the Los Angeles Angels need to end their longest losing streak of the season.
The Angels hope to continue their interleague success and snap a five-game skid Friday night against the visiting Atlanta Braves.
Los Angeles ranks fifth all-time with 139 interleague victories. The Angels have won 25 of their last 36 against the NL, and their 119-78 interleague record since 2000 - spanning Mike Scioscia’s managerial tenure - is second-best in the majors.
The Angels (22-23) were competitive during most of their just-completed road trip, but dropped three one-run games en route to a 1-6 record. Howie Kendrick(notes) snapped the Angels’ 24-inning scoreless streak with a solo homer Thursday, but Hunter lost a ball in the sun with two outs in the ninth to allow the winning run to cross in a 2-1 loss at Seattle.
“We need to get some momentum going,” Scioscia said. “We need to get crisper in the things we need to and that is where our focus will be.”
Los Angeles has averaged 2.1 runs while losing seven of eight. Things could get tougher if Kendrick is unable to play due to tightness in his right hamstring. The versatile Kendrick is batting .322 with a team-leading seven homers.
Abreu’s .417 interleague on-base percentage ranks seventh all-time among players with at least 150 at-bats. Slugging .540 against the NL, Hunter is a lifetime .286 hitter against scheduled Braves starter Tim Hudson(notes) (4-3, 3.03 ERA).
Hudson, who pitched for AL West rival Oakland from 1999-2004, is 13-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 24 starts versus Los Angeles. However, he allowed four runs in four innings and did not factor in the decision of an 8-4 loss to the Angels on June 8, 2005.
Though Hudson is 2-13 with a 6.25 ERA in 17 interleague starts since joining the Braves, he posted a 2.86 ERA while going 1-2 against the AL in 2010. The right-hander is also 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA his last five starts overall. He allowed two runs and walked a season-high five in seven innings but did not factor in the decision of a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
Los Angeles counters with Ervin Santana(notes) (1-4, 4.85), who surrendered six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-4 loss in his only appearance against the Braves on June 14, 2008. Santana, 8-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 18 interleague starts, allowed four runs in seven innings Sunday, when he didn’t get a decision in a 5-4 loss at Texas.
Atlanta’s Martin Prado(notes) has never faced Santana, but is a .312 career hitter in interleague play. Though his 10-game hitting streak was snapped in a 2-1 loss to Arizona on Thursday, the utilityman is batting .340 over his last 22 games.
With a 119-107 interleague record, the Braves (25-21) should look forward to facing an AL opponent after suffering a two-game sweep in Arizona.
Atlanta is 3-3 all-time against the Angels, but took two of three in Anaheim in 2008.