After earning his 100th career win in a strong effort earlier this week, Felix Hernandez is looking for more.
Unfortunately for Hernandez, the Los Angeles Angels have usually had his number - particularly last season.
Hernandez takes the mound for the Seattle Mariners hoping to snap a personal three-game losing streak to the Angels as these AL West rivals continue a four-game set Saturday night at Safeco Field.
Hernandez (2-2, 2.08 ERA) is coming off his first victory since opening day, scattering five hits and striking out nine over six scoreless innings in Monday’s 7-1 win at Houston. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner became the third pitcher in team history to reach 100 victories, joining Jamie Moyer (145) and Randy Johnson (130).
“I’m glad it’s behind him,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Obviously, it’s something you can’t not think about as a pitcher or player or even as manager or coach. I was really happy for him. He’s accomplished so much, so quickly, for a young man. It’s a great accomplishment.”
The 27-year-old Hernandez has struck out 37 and walked six over five starts spanning 34 2-3 innings. He went 0-2 in his previous three starts before Monday.
“Finally. Finally. It took too long. But it felt great,” Hernandez told MLB’s official website. “One hundred wins in the big leagues and hopefully I can get more and more.”
If his results against the Angels (9-13) are any indication, building on his latest effort could prove difficult.
Hernandez is 2-7 against them since the start of the 2010 season and 6-12 lifetime - his second-most losses versus any opponent - to go with a 4.07 ERA. He was especially bad in five starts against Los Angeles in 2012, compiling an 0-3 record and a 6.25 ERA - easily his worst versus any team he faced more than once.
The Angels had lost four straight and seven of eight on the road before winning 6-3 on Friday. C.J. Wilson pitched effectively into the sixth inning while Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo both hit two-run homers.
The Mariners (9-16), meanwhile, have dropped six of eight while batting .172 with runners in scoring position. They went 1 for 12 in such situations Friday.
Seattle, though, would appear to have a favorable matchup against Joe Blanton (0-3, 7.84), whose .392 opponent batting average is the worst in the AL among pitchers with at least three starts. The right-hander was tagged for four runs and a season-high 12 hits over six-plus innings but didn’t factor in the decision of Monday’s 7-6 loss to Texas.
Morse has looked lost at the plate of late, striking out 10 times during a 4-for-32 slump.
Blanton, though, will need to be wary of Kyle Seager who is batting .393 with three homers during a career-high 15-game hitting streak - the longest in the majors this season. He’s 8 for 18 with a pair of long balls, six runs scored and five RBIs in his last four games versus Los Angeles.