The Los Angeles Angels spiraled out of the American League wild-card competition and are sinking fast entering Friday’s home contest against the Seattle Mariners. Los Angeles was eliminated earlier this week and has dropped nine of its past 11 games.
Seattle also had aspirations of ending a 15-season playoff drought before it fell out of the wild-card derby because of its own swoon. The Mariners lost eight of nine games in a pivotal stretch before recovering to take two of three from the Oakland Athletics. Los Angeles needs a sweep to avoid its third losing campaign in five seasons and has qualified for the playoffs only once in the past eight seasons. Center fielder Mike Trout sat out Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the White Sox after striking out four times the night before but is expected back in the lineup Friday.
TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports Northwest (Seattle), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners LH Marco Gonzales (1-1, 6.25 ERA) vs. Angels LH Tyler Skaggs (2-6, 4.48)
Gonzales is making his seventh start for the Mariners and his first since beating Texas on Sept. 12. The 25-year-old has been touched up for a .350 average by opposing hitters and possesses a rather high 1.78 WHIP. Gonzales started against the Angels on Aug. 11 and gave up one run (on a homer) and four hits in 4 1/3 innings while drawing a no-decision.
Skaggs received a no-decision in his last start when he allowed four runs and six hits in five innings against the Houston Astros. The 26-year-old turned in a strong outing against Seattle on Aug. 10 when he gave up five hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision. Skaggs is 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA in six career starts against the Mariners.
1. Angels DH Albert Pujols, who has homered only twice in September, has gone deep only once in 67 at-bats against the Mariners this season.
2. Seattle DH Nelson Cruz has hit five homers in the past eight games and needs two more for his fourth consecutive 40-blast campaign.
3. Los Angeles LF Justin Upton was 0-for-9 with six strikeouts in a two-game span before getting the night off Thursday.
PREDICTION: Angels 6, Mariners 4