The Los Angeles Angels' C.J. Wilson has had mixed results this season, but he's been plenty consistent against the Seattle Mariners.
Seeking a fifth consecutive win over Seattle, Wilson takes the mound opposite fellow lefty Joe Saunders as the Angels continue a four-game set with the visiting Mariners on Wednesday night.
After going 1-5 over his previous seven outings, Wilson (5-5, 3.90 ERA) got back on track with an impressive display in Friday's 5-2 win over the New York Yankees. The two-time All-Star allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings, improving to 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA over his last six home starts.
"A win's a win. I'll take a pretty win or an ugly win, or whatever," said Wilson, who at 87 2-3 innings is nearly halfway to his fourth consecutive 200-inning campaign. "I'm very motivated to pitch deep into the game, and pitching a lot of innings is really what separates the good pitchers from the really good pitchers. I'm just trying to get back up to that level where I feel like I deserve to be."
Wilson has proven nearly unbeatable against the Mariners (32-40) since the start of 2011, going 7-1 with a 2.24 ERA and 65 strikeouts in nine starts spanning 60 1-3 innings. He yielded one run, six hits and struck out 10 in a season-high eight innings May 22 in a 7-1 victory, winning his third consecutive start in the series.
Wilson has fared especially well against several Seattle hitters, including Raul Ibanez (3 for 21), Michael Saunders (3 for 19) and Kyle Seager (2 for 16).
The Mariners give the ball to Saunders (5-6, 4.80), who's 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA over his last four starts. He gave up five hits over seven innings of one-run ball in Friday's 3-2 victory at Oakland, improving to 1-4 on the road with a 7.58 ERA - nearly three times higher than his home mark of 2.53.
"It's just a matter of being consistent and staying confident in what you can do," he told MLB's official website. "You know you can do this. It's just a matter of now doing it."
Saunders, who spent the first five-plus years of his career with the Angels (31-40), is set to face his former team for just the second time. He surrendered a two-run homer to Mark Trumbo in a 2-0 loss in Los Angeles last June 16 while with Arizona.
Seattle's Kendrys Morales, meanwhile, delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the 10th inning against his former club in Tuesday's 3-2 win. Acquired from the Angels in exchange for Jason Vargas this offseason, Morales entered the game mired in a 2-for-32 slump.
Ibanez and Justin Smoak also came up big with back-to-back homers in the second inning. Ibanez has hit safely in 13 straight and 27 of 28 games at Angel Stadium, going 41 for 110 (.373) with three homers, 22 runs and 12 RBIs. Smoak was playing in his first game back since missing 18 with a strained oblique.
Los Angeles' Josh Hamilton grounded into a double play in each of his first three at-bats before striking out in his next two. The former AL MVP is hitting .163 with one homer in his last 12 home games.
"It's hard for me to tell why he's struggling because I've only faced him a handful of times," Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush said. "He just working through whatever he's working through to try to get back to the big power numbers that he's had in the past."
Hamilton is 4 for 10 with a homer and a triple against Saunders.