Pregame news and notes, Angels 5/21


After pretty much the worst possible result in a four-game set in Cleveland, the 20-25 Mariners return west to play two games in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels (17-27) have struggled mightily in 2013, and lost three of four at Safeco Field a few weeks ago. Before the game, here are some news and notes to digest.

Harang back on the mound

Aaron Harang will toe the rubber tonight for the first time since May 7, after he missed his last start with back stiffness. Harang had strung together consecutive quality starts for the first time in 2013 in his two previous starts. Hector Noesi made the start for him in New York last Thursday and helped the Mariners to a victory. It was the Mariners most recent win. Harang, 1-4 with a 7.30 ERA, is still seeking his first road win of 2013.

Smoak quietly surging

With so many other offensive weapons garnering attention for the Mariners this year, Justin Smoak has flown under the radar. His .252 batting average with three homers and eight RBI don’t jump off the page, but he’s been hot lately. He has a five-game hittting streak, has reached base in 14 consecutive contests and hit two home runs this weekend, both in late game situations. His on-base percentage is solid as well (.366) and he has a 2-t0-3 walks to strikeouts ratio, way up from his sub-1-to-2 ratio from 2012. The Mariners have to stick with Smoak as their future at first.

Quick facts

Here are some interesting numbers from the Mariners’ game notes press release today:

  • Tom Wilhelmsen has not allowed a hit to a right-handed batter in 2013. Righties are 0-for-31 against the Bartender.
  • Raul Ibanez has six home runs in the last eight games he’s played. Because, you know, he’s Raul.
  • The Mariners rotation is tied for the American League lead in quality starts with 26, despite having just one this weekend (Brandon Maurer).
  • Brendan Ryan has raised his batting average 66 points to .178 with a 9-for-25 clip on the current road trip. He hit his first home run on Saturday.
  • The Mariners rank last in the league with a .213 batting average with runners in scoring position in 2013. They hit .190 with RISP on the road.

Brandon Maurer takes on Jerome Williams at 7:05 PT.