Barria leads struggling Angels vs. mashing Mariners

Field Level Media

Jaime Barria will start on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners, trying to achieve what has been a very difficult task for Angels starting pitchers this season.

Earn a victory.

In 21 games this season, an Angels starting pitcher has been credited with a win just twice -- one by Trevor Cahill and one by Tyler Skaggs. Barria has a victory this season, but it came in a relief role.

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Part of the reason Angels starters have not gotten many victories is because manager Brad Ausmus has had a quick hook -- not just because the starters have struggled, but also because the bullpen has pitched so well.

Including their 6-5 loss to the Mariners on Saturday, Angels starters this season are 2-9 with a 6.19 ERA. Meanwhile, the relievers are 6-4 with a 3.28 ERA.

Angels starters have lasted at least six innings in just five of their 21 games -- three by Cahill and one each by Harvey and Tyler Skaggs.

"The games have been really close, and kind of that third time through the lineup, if we think that we've got an option with the strong bullpen down there that we have ... we're going to do it," Ausmus said. "So there have been times where I've gone out there, and after 4 1/3, 4 2/3 (innings) and made a change because we're trying to win games. We're going to go with our strengths."

Barria has not faced Seattle this season, and went 1-3 with a 4.10 ERA in five starts against the Mariners last year. Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger enjoyed facing Barria, going 4-for-11 against him with two home runs.

Right-hander Mike Leake, who will start for Seattle, has had some success against the Angels in his career (4-3, 3.57 ERA in seven starts), but there are a number of Angels who have hit him well.

Jonathan Lucroy is hitting .420 (21-for-50), Mike Trout .500 (9-for-18), Andrelton Simmons .433 (13-for-30) and Albert Pujols .364 (8-for-22) against Leake.

Leake, though, can afford to give up a few runs, based on the way the Mariners' offense has pounded the ball this season. They hit four home runs on Saturday and now have 53 this season, 12 more than any other team in the majors.

They hit at least one home run in their first 20 games this season, setting a major league record. Since going homerless in a 1-0 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday, Seattle has hit 11 home runs in the first three games of the series against the Angels, giving the team homers in 23 of 24 games overall.

"It's fun to hit homers, but it's better to win," said shortstop Tim Beckham, who has hit five. "Winning is fun, and we want to keep it going."

The Mariners have been especially good on the road this year, going 11-1 and hitting 34 homers away from T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

--Field Level Media

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