Another desperate adjustment by the Los Angeles Angels seemingly wasn't enough to spark Josh Hamilton on Wednesday. Fortunately for them, a great pitching performance neutralized his latest disappointing game.
Now Hamilton takes on the pitcher he's faced more than any other, an ace against which he's badly struggled - just like his team did in one meeting this season after shelling him last year.
C.J. Wilson held Seattle (32-41) to two hits over seven innings in a 1-0 win for the Angels (32-40) Wednesday. The only run came on Joe Saunders' first wild pitch of the season, allowing Mike Trout to score. Saunders' ninth career complete game was all for naught.
Hamilton, meanwhile, continues to struggle, so much so that manager Mike Scioscia slotted him seventh in his batting order Wednesday after he grounded into three double plays in Seattle's 3-2 win Tuesday. The slugger was 0 for 3 and struck out twice for the third consecutive game Wednesday, lowering his batting average to .210 as he hit seventh for the first time since 2009.
Hamilton's .657 OPS is a career low. He slugged .633 in his MVP season of 2010.
"We've got to figure out something," said Hamilton, hitting .152 in his last 13 home games. "Some players wear emotions on their sleeves and break things, but I'm not going to break my bat on the field because there's kids watching. If they don't think I care, they're mistaken because it hurts me more than it hurts anybody not to be performing."
Hamilton may not do much better Thursday as he's 8 for 51 (.157) with 16 strikeouts versus Hernandez and hitless in his last 10 at-bats against him.
Hernandez (8-4, 2.32 ERA) did have some troubles in five starts versus the Angels last year, collecting an 0-3 record and 6.25 ERA. However, he beat them on April 27 as he gave up two runs - one earned - and five hits in eight innings during a 3-2 win.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his last four starts and brings a 12-inning scoreless streak into Thursday after going seven in a 4-0 win at Oakland on Saturday.
Trout has hit .407 (11 for 27) against him and enters this matchup on a roll, going 9 for 20 with eight walks in his last six games.
Hernandez will be opposed by Tommy Hanson (4-2, 3.94), who has won his last two outings while allowing four runs in 11 1-3 innings. He struck out a season-high eight against the Yankees in a 6-2 win Saturday.
"This was the most confident I've felt all year. Obviously, I needed a little time to deal with what I was dealing with, but I feel like I'm getting back to a rhythm," said Hanson, who took nearly a month off in May as he dealt with the death of his stepbrother. "I'm back to a normal routine."
Hanson won his only previous start versus Seattle, going six innings and giving up three runs in a 5-4 victory while with Atlanta on June 28, 2011.
Michael Morse is 5 for 13 with two homers against Hanson.