Braves-Angels Preview

Facing an NL opponent might be what the Los Angeles Angels need

to end their longest losing streak of the season.

The Angels hope to continue their interleague success and snap a

five-game skid Friday night against the visiting Atlanta

Braves.

Los Angeles ranks fifth all-time with 139 interleague victories.

The Angels have won 25 of their last 36 against the NL, and their

119-78 interleague record since 2000 – spanning Mike Scioscia’s

managerial tenure – is second-best in the majors.

“I think our style plays anywhere,” outfielder Torii Hunter told

the Angels’ official website. “When we’re playing our game, we’re

competitive anywhere.”

The Angels (22-23) were competitive during most of their

just-completed road trip, but dropped three one-run games en route

to a 1-6 record. Howie Kendrick snapped the Angels’ 24-inning

scoreless streak with a solo homer Thursday, but Hunter lost a ball

in the sun with two outs in the ninth to allow the winning run to

cross in a 2-1 loss at Seattle.

“We need to get some momentum going,” Scioscia said. “We need

to get crisper in the things we need to and that is where our focus

will be.”

Los Angeles has averaged 2.1 runs while losing seven of eight.

Things could get tougher if Kendrick is unable to play due to

tightness in his right hamstring. The versatile Kendrick is batting

.322 with a team-leading seven homers.

Regardless, the Angels hope Hunter and Bobby Abreu continue

their interleague success.

Abreu’s .417 interleague on-base percentage ranks seventh

all-time among players with at least 150 at-bats. Slugging .540

against the NL, Hunter is a lifetime .286 hitter against scheduled

Braves starter Tim Hudson (4-3, 3.03 ERA).

Hudson, who pitched for AL West rival Oakland from 1999-2004, is

13-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 24 starts versus Los Angeles. However, he

allowed four runs in four innings and did not factor in the

decision of an 8-4 loss to the Angels on June 8, 2005.

Though Hudson is 2-13 with a 6.25 ERA in 17 interleague starts

since joining the Braves, he posted a 2.86 ERA while going 1-2

against the AL in 2010. The right-hander is also 2-1 with a 2.27

ERA his last five starts overall. He allowed two runs and walked a

season-high five in seven innings but did not factor in the

decision of a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.

Los Angeles counters with Ervin Santana (1-4, 4.85), who

surrendered six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-4 loss

in his only appearance against the Braves on June 14, 2008.

Santana, 8-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 18 interleague starts, allowed four

runs in seven innings Sunday, when he didn’t get a decision in a

5-4 loss at Texas.

Atlanta’s Martin Prado has never faced Santana, but is a .312

career hitter in interleague play. Though his 10-game hitting

streak was snapped in a 2-1 loss to Arizona on Thursday, the

utilityman is batting .340 over his last 22 games.

With a 119-107 interleague record, the Braves (25-21) should

look forward to facing an AL opponent after suffering a two-game

sweep in Arizona.

“It’s good to play against some different teams,” catcher Brian

McCann told the Braves’ official website.

Chipper Jones is batting .389 with two homers and 10 RBIs during

a 10-game interleague hitting streak, but is 0 for 7 lifetime

against the Angels.

Atlanta is 3-3 all-time against the Angels, but took two of

three in Anaheim in 2008.