Angels-Mariners Preview

After snapping one of the longest scoreless stretches in team

history, the Los Angeles Angels ended another trying month with a

rough night at the plate.

The Angels will try to bounce back by opening September with

their sixth win in 18 games during Wednesday night’s finale of a

three-game set against the Seattle Mariners.

Los Angeles (64-69) hit three home runs while ending a 26-inning

scoreless drought in Monday’s victory, but its offense reverted to

its struggling form with five hits in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss. Howie

Kendrick’s RBI double gave the Angels a short-lived lead in the

eighth before the Mariners (52-80) responded with three runs,

including one on Adam Moore’s broken-bat single.

“It was especially big after giving up one run in the top of the

eighth coming right back and scoring three in the bottom of the

inning,” interim manager Daren Brown said. “It cost him a bat but

I think he’ll take that trade every time.”

With the loss, Los Angeles finished 11-16 in August after going

9-17 in July. The end of this past month was particularly difficult

for the team’s hitters, who have posted a .183 average and scored

seven runs over the past five games.

The Angels would appear to have a chance to break out of that

funk against Seattle left-hander Jason Vargas (9-7, 3.53 ERA), who

is 0-2 with an 8.03 ERA since his three-game win streak ended. The

left-hander, though, is 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts this

season against Los Angeles.

Vargas has pitched 158 innings this season – 66 1-3 more than

his previous career high set last season – but insists he’s not

tired.

“There hasn’t been any change in the way I feel from the

beginning of the season to now,” Vargas told the team’s website. “I

don’t think that being fatigued or being late in the season has

anything to do with the last couple starts.”

The Angels will counter with Trevor Bell (1-4, 5.07), whose

tough luck as a starter continued Friday. The right-hander gave up

two runs over a career-high seven innings Friday against Baltimore

but took the loss in a 3-1 defeat, dropping to 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA

in five starts this season.

“It was obviously a tough one,” Bell told the team’s website.

“We didn’t come away with a ‘W’ and that’s the biggest thing right

now.”

Bell’s lone win as a starter came Aug. 18, 2009, in Cleveland,

and he’ll try to lead the Angels to their first series win since

Aug. 11 in his first start against the Mariners.

Angels outfielder Torii Hunter has gone 18 games without an RBI

but did hit .337 in August.

Los Angeles is 11-4 against Seattle, including 6-2 at Safeco

Field.