Mariners ace Felix Hernandez resumes his long-running rivalry with the Angels on Monday in Anaheim as the American League West clubs open a three-game series at Angel Stadium. Both teams are competing for second place in the early division race, looking to stay within arm's length of the red-hot Astros.
Hernandez beat the Angels on Opening Day in Seattle, 4-1, as he threw seven innings of two-hit ball. Hernandez is 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA and is seeking to start his career with five straight wins for the first time in his 11 seasons. He's 12-13 with a 3.47 ERA In 41 starts against the Halos.
He'll be opposed by Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who is 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Shoemaker beat the Mariners in the third game of the season in Seattle, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings in a 5-3 win. Shoemaker is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA in five career outings (four starts) against the Mariners.
Three things to know about this game
• Hernandez needs two strikeouts to reach 1,989 and pass Johan Santana for the most by a Venezuelan pitcher in Major League history. The 29-year-old passed Jamie Moyer for the most innings by a Mariners pitcher in his last start, leading that category with 2,095 1/3.
• Mike Trout has had his share of success against Hernandez, batting .365/.386/.673 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 52 at-bats against The King. But Hernandez has had his way with many of the Angels. Albert Pujols has hit .205 with 11 strikeouts in 39 at-bats, Chris Iannetta has hit .091 (2-for-22), Kole Calhoun .056 (1-for-18) and Matt Joyce .048 (1-for-21). David Freese (0-for-13), Efren Navarro (0-for-9) and C.J. Cron (0-for-6) are still looking for their first hit against Hernandez.
• Seattle right fielder Nelson Cruz brings a hot bat into the series. Cruz leads the AL with 13 home runs in 25 games. Three players in Major League history have hit 14 homers in their first 25 games -- Cy Williams of the 1923 Phillies, Pujols with the 2006 Cardinals and Alex Rodriguez with the 2007 Yankees. Cruz hasn't fared particularly well at Angel Stadium in his career, with a .218/.274/.381 line and nine home runs in 54 games.