Mariners-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels might be in trouble if Ervin Santana can't go deep into the game.

With Felix Hernandez set to take the mound, the Seattle Mariners' bullpen might get another night off.

Los Angeles, which hasn't scored in 23 straight innings at home, will try to rebound from a rough road trip when it faces a red-hot Hernandez on Friday night.

With LaTroy Hawkins giving up five runs in a 9-8 loss to Oakland on Wednesday, the Angels' bullpen finished the 4-6 trip with a 10.54 ERA. The relievers allowed 41 hits and walked 11 in 27 1-3 innings.

"At some point things have to stabilize coming out of the bullpen to give us a chance,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. "We haven't been able to keep games on our terms as far as using guys in their role. That's highlighted by the fact the starters haven't gotten us to a certain point.''

While Jordan Walden and Scott Downs may return soon from the disabled list to provide some much-needed help out of the bullpen, the Angels (59-53) could use a solid start by Santana (5-10, 5.83 ERA) as they open a 10-game homestand. The stretch includes three against the Mariners (51-62) and three versus 51-60 Cleveland.

Los Angeles just completed a run of 13 consecutive games against teams with winning records.

Santana hasn't had a winning record all season after opening the year with six consecutive losses, but he's shown some promise in two outings since getting skipped in the rotation. The right-hander threw six innings of three-run ball in a 6-5, 10-inning win over Chicago on Saturday after giving up three runs in five innings of a 15-8 victory at Texas on July 30.

"Hopefully he's turned the corner on some things," Scioscia told the team's official website.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge doesn't want Hernandez to change anything after watching the him throw what he called the best start he's seen as a manager. The right-hander pitched a two-hitter in a 1-0 victory over New York on Saturday.

"What you saw today, you're not going to see anything better than that," said Wedge, whose team has gone 0-4 since that outing.

Hernandez, 6-0 with a 1.41 ERA in 10 starts since his last loss, will present a major challenge for the Angels as they look to break their season high-tying 23-inning home scoring drought.

Mark Trumbo might be able to help. He's batting .367 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in 14 career home games against Seattle, having gone 5 for 12 with two home runs and four RBIs from June 4-6.

AL batting leader Mike Trout went 5 for 11 in that series and Kendrys Morales homered three times, but Seattle took two of three after losing 20 of its previous 24 games in Anaheim.

Heading to Orange County could help Seattle center fielder Michael Saunders get back on track. He went 0 for 14 with six strikeouts in three losses at Baltimore over the weekend, but he's batted .417 (10 for 24) with a homer and a double in seven games against the Angels in 2012.

Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, 1 for 16 in those contests, should be in Friday's lineup after missing the last four games with a bruised left elbow.

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