Angels-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

Based on the way Jason Vargas has pitched against the Kansas City Royals, it would appear he has a good chance to continue his recent overall success.

The left-hander looks for a third straight winning start while trying to help the visiting Angels extend their season-high winning streak to six games Friday night against the Royals.

Vargas (3-3, 3.55 ERA) went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his first three starts for Los Angeles (20-27), but is 3-1 with a 2.47 ERA in the last six. He allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings of a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

"He's really doing what he's done his whole career," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels official website. "Changing speeds, getting in the zone.

"He has a great feel of when to come in and when to take a little off. That's Jason's talent and it's shown up for us. He's been our most consistent pitcher.... Ever since he's gotten comfortable in the season, he's been lights out."

Since Vargas surrendered eight runs in seven innings of an 8-2 loss in his first appearance versus Kansas City in 2009, he's gone 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA against the Royals (21-23). He gave up two runs and struck out seven in seven innings of a 6-2 win over Kansas City on May 14.

"He mixes speeds well, locates, and he just knows how to pitch,'' said Kansas City slugger Billy Butler, who is 8 for 16 with three doubles and three home runs versus Vargas. "Over the years he's gotten better and better. He knows what he has, knows his stuff and basically knows how to approach hitters."

While Butler has had success against Vargas, he's 6 for 27 (.222) with no extra-base hits and one RBI while the Royals have dropped six of seven since taking two of three in Anaheim May 13-15.

Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Chris Iannetta each homered in Los Angeles' 5-4 win at Kansas City on Thursday. The Angels have batted .323 with nine home runs while scoring 42 runs during the five-game winning streak.

Trumbo has batted .387 while hitting safely in eight straight games and Pujols .324 with three home runs in the last nine contests.

Trout is 8 for 13 with two homers in three games since he went 1 for 12 in the previous four. Batting .351 in 10 games versus Kansas City, Trout has homered in three straight against the Royals.

Trumbo has homered in consecutive games at Kauffman Stadium, where's he's batting .353 in his last eight.

Scheduled Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza (1-2, 5.50) has pitched six innings in each of his last three starts, going 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA during that span. The right-hander allowed three runs and did not walk a batter for the second straight start while not factoring in the decision of a 4-3 loss at Oakland on Sunday.

"I think the only hits that hurt me (Sunday) were the bloopers,'' Mendoza said. "I'm just trying to get outs as quick as possible and minimize the damage.''

Mendoza's latest effort came after he also yielded three runs in an 11-4 win May 13 to improve to 1-1 with a 9.75 ERA in three starts versus Los Angeles.

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