The Los Angeles Angels have reached a modest goal, getting their record back to .500. Matchups with some of the majors' worst clubs certainly aren't hurting their cause.
With a chance to move above .500 for the first time in more than a month, the Angels hope to take advantage of their second straight weekend series against the AL West's worst team as they visit the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
After starting the season 3-7, Los Angeles (28-28) has begun to take a step in the right direction, winning seven of its last nine. Thursday's 5-4 win over Kansas City gave the Angels a .500 record for the first time since April 30.
"It's like your report card," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've been kind of swimming upstream for a while, working very, very hard. It's certainly not where we want to end up - we think we're a better team than .500 - but we're going to keep playing hard and that record will let you know how you're doing like a report card."
The Angels haven't been above .500 since April 28. Facing subpar opponents has helped them build momentum.
Los Angeles won three of four against the Royals - owners of the majors' fifth-worst record - after taking two of three versus the Mariners (22-31) last weekend.
Joe Saunders (3-6, 5.09 ERA), set to take the mound for the Angels in the opener of this three-game set, faced Seattle on Sunday and had one of his worst starts of the season. He surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings before the Angels rallied to win 9-7.
It was a setback for Saunders, who went 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in his previous four outings. The left-hander is 6-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last nine starts versus the Mariners.
Seattle will counter with Ian Snell (0-3, 4.58), who matched up with Saunders on Sunday, surrendering three runs and walking four in four innings. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in three starts against the Angels.
Snell is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA in two starts since rejoining the rotation.
Seattle added bullpen depth Thursday, promoting Chad Cordero from Triple-A Tacoma to take the roster spot of Ken Griffey Jr., who suddenly retired Wednesday.
Once considered among the best closers in the NL, Cordero missed all of the 2008 season and spent '09 in the minors rehabbing. The right-hander went on the disabled list twice in '08 due to a torn side muscle, torn labrum and torn biceps, and was released by Washington after the season.
Cordero led the NL with 47 saves in '05 and closed out 113 games from 2005-07, second-most in the NL even though he played for mediocre teams.
"I've worked hard for two years to get back up here and hopefully I don't ever have to do it again," Cordero said.
David Aardsma earned his 12th save in Seattle's 4-1 win over AL Central-leading Minnesota on Thursday night. The Mariners won the final three games of the four-game set, and have won five of six at home.
Former Angel Casey Kotchman went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .191, but he broke Kevin Youkilis' major league record for consecutive errorless chances by a first baseman with 2,003.
Kotchman is hitting .174 (4 for 23) in six career games against Los Angeles.