GAME: Mariners (31-39, 3rd, AL West, -10.5 GB) at Angels (30-39, 5th, AL West, -11.0 GB). GAME #: 71. SERIES: 1st of 4 games. MEETING: 7th (series tied 3-3). WHEN: Monday, 7:05 p.m., Angels Stadium. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Angels L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Aaron Harang sure is hard to figure. He lost five of his first six decisions with the Mariners after joining the rotation April 16, but has tossed two complete-game shutouts in his last four outings. And, during that stretch, May 27-June 11, Harang was shelled for six runs in a 2.1-inning outing against the New York Yankees.
The last time Harang pitched at Angels Stadium, where the Mariners begin a four-game series Monday night in a battle of underachievers, he lost 12-0, allowing seven earned runs in just 3.2 innings, a performance that had many calling for his ouster from the rotation. In response to that pummeling, Harang came back six days later and pitched a four-hit, complete-game, 9-0 shutout against San Diego.
No telling what will happen Monday to Harang, who seems to have the focus of a backyard butterfly, when he opposes former Mariner Jason Vargas, whom Seattle traded to the Angels last winter in order to acquire Kendrys Morales. No winner yet in that deal.
Morales is hitting a solid .287 with eight home runs while Vargas, after losses in his first three decisions, has won five of his past six.
From a standings perspective, this is a significant series for both clubs, although it won’t rock the larger baseball world. The Mariners will enter 31-39, 10.5 games behind the Athletics. The Angels are 30-39, 11 games back.
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 11th start and third against the Angels. Before Harang picked up in late May, he dropped two starts to the Angels, 6-3 at Safeco Field April 26 and 12-0 at Angels Stadium May 21. Since that loss, Harang is 2-1 with a no-decision. The victories have been complete games.
- LAST START: June 11 at Safeco Field, defeated Houston 4-0; 0 earned runs on 2 hits in 9.0 innings, second complete game of the season; 10 strikeouts, 0 walks, 115 pitches, 78 for strikes.
- LAST VS. ANGELS: May 21 at Angels Stadium, lost 12-0; 7 earned runs on 9 hits in 3.2 innings; 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 home runs, 70 pitches, 46 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. ANGELS: 0-3, 8.02 ERA in 5 starts covering 21.1 innings;12 strikeouts, 9 walks, 6 home runs; 2.10 WHIP.
- AT ANGELS STADIUM: 0-1, 9.31 ERA in two starts covering 9.2 innings; 4 strikeouts, 3 walks, 4 home runs; 1.96 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Howie Kendrick (1-for-6, .167), Mark Trumbo (2-for-10, .200).
- HATES TO FACE: Josh Hamilton (3-for-4, .750), Peter Bourjos (3-for-5, .600), Albert Pujols (24-for-76, .316).
- CURRENT ANGELS VS. HARANG: 51-for-152, .336 BA, 21 strikeouts, 17 walks, 10 home runs, .393 on-base percentage.
ANGELS: LHP Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.74 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
The 30-year-old Vargas, an Apple Valley, CA., native in his eighth major league season and first with the Angels, will make his 14th start and second against the Mariners, for whom he pitched from 2009-12. After winning five consecutive decisions between May 3-30, Vargas has a no-decision and a loss in his past two outings. Vargas pitched his best game against the White Sox May 19, holding Chicago without an earned run over seven innings.
- LAST START: June 11 at Baltimore, lost 3-2; 3 earned runs on 7 hits in 6.2 innings; 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 113 pitches, 70 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: April 28 at Safeco Field, lost 2-1; 2 earned runs on 6 hits in 8.0 innings; 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 107 pitches, 75 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-1, 2.75 ERA in 1 start covering 8.0 innings; 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 1.00 WHIP.
- AT ANGELS STADIUM: 7-2, 2.76 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts, covering 91.1 innings; 65 strikeouts, 24 walks, 10 home runs, 1.19 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Kyle Seager (0-for-4, .000), Raul Ibanez (0-for-3, .000), Henry Blanco (0-for-3, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Morse (2-for-4, .500), Endy Chavez (3-for-8, .375), Kendrys Morales (5-for-16, .313).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. VARGAS: 16-for-64, .250 BA, 11 strikeouts, 3 walks, 4 home runs, .284 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Oakland (Friday-Sunday), four at L.A. Angels (Monday-Thursday). The Mariners return to Safeco Field for a three-game series with the Athletics Fridday. The home stand also features visits by the Pittsburgh Pirates (June 25-26) and Chicago Cubs (June 28-30).
- In Sunday’s game, starter Hisashi Iwakuma matched his season low in strikeouts (3) and also matched his season high in walks (3). After allowing four earned runs in 5.0 innings, his ERA jumped from 1.79 to 2.06.
- If the Mariners had won Sunday, it would have been their first three-game series sweep in Oakland since April 10-12, 2009. The Mariners are still seeking their first three-game sweep this season.
- The Mariners have not won three in a row since May 1-4.
- Manager Eric Wedge said Sunday that he’s hopeful 1B Justin Smoak will be able to rejoin the club in Anaheim.
- 2012 No. 1 draft pick Mike Zunino returned to the lineup Sunday after a day off Saturday — when backup Henry Blanco swatted a grand slam — and went 1-for-3.
- Tom Wilhelmsen made his first appearance Sunday since being demoted from the closer’s role. Replacing Blake Beavan, Wilhelmsen walked in a run (unearned) and left after 0.2 innings.
- Beavan’s appearance was his first since June 6 in a mop-up role against the Yankees.
|6/17||Mon||at LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (3-6) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (5-4)|
|6/18||Tue||at LAA||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) vs. TBA|
|6/19||Wed||at LAA||LHP Joe Saunders (5-6) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (5-5)|
|6/20||Thr||at LAA||RHP Felix Hernandez (8-4) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (4-2)|