The Los Angeles Angels have taken over sole possession of the second wild-card spot in the American League, but they’re not about to start printing playoff tickets. The surging Angels aim for their sixth consecutive victory Sunday, when they face the host Seattle Mariners in the finale of their four-game series.
Albert Pujols snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-run double in the eighth inning and four relievers combined for four scoreless innings in Saturday’s 6-3 victory as the Angels won for the 11th time in 15 games. C.J. Cron contributed two hits and Luis Valbuena added a two-run blast, giving him six homers since the All-Star break. Seattle sits one game back in the race for the AL’s second wild card with 45 games remaining and is using a makeshift rotation with starters James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma all on the disabled list. “We’ve got to find a way to keep it rolling here,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters. “We can look at it as a challenge or look at it as a threat. We’ll take the challenge - and it’s going to be a challenge. There’s no doubt.”
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Parker Bridwell (6-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Mariners LH Ariel Miranda (7-5, 4.65)
Bridwell won his fourth straight decision Tuesday against Baltimore, allowing one run and six hits over seven innings. The 26-year-old rookie, who yielded five runs over six frames in a start against Seattle on June 30, owns a 3-0 record and 1.80 ERA in four outings on the road this season. The Angels are 10-1 in games pitched by Bridwell, who is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA over his last six starts.
Miranda extended his winless streak to six starts in Oakland on Tuesday, when he yielded six runs over five innings. The 28-year-old Cuban has given up seven home runs over his last three outings covering 16 2/3 frames. Miranda has pitched well against the Angels, going 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in five career starts while keeping Pujols hitless in 14 at-bats.
1. Mariners OF Mitch Haniger (face) began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday.
2. The Angels activated RHP Andrew Bailey (shoulder) from the disabled list and designated OF Cesar Puello for assignment.
3. Seattle purchased the contract of RHP Christian Bergman from Tacoma and optioned RHP Andrew Moore to the Rainiers.
PREDICTION: Angels 7, Mariners 4