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Preview: Mariners at Angels

Current Conditions – Anaheim
CLOUDY 74 °F
Wind: WNW 3
5-Day Forecast GAME: Seattle Mariners (74-79) at Los Angeles Angels (78-74)
DATE/TIME: Friday, September 25 – 10:05 PM EST
WHERE: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

The Los Angeles Angels continue pursuit of an American League wild-card spot when they open a three-game series against the visiting Seattle Mariners on Friday. The Angels are 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros for the second wild card and also have to fight off the Minnesota Twins to claim that spot.

The Angels have won five of their last seven games as they open a six-game homestand against non-contenders Seattle and Oakland. Los Angeles center fielder Mike Trout has heated up with six homers in his last 11 games after undergoing a stretch in which he went deep twice in a 39-game stretch. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz has slowed down with one homer and two RBIs over his last 10 games and traditionally struggles (4-for-22) against scheduled Angels starter Garrett Richards. Mariners designated hitter Mark Trumbo is also in a power drought and hasn’t gone deep in his past 12 contests.

TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, ROOT (Seattle), FSN West (Los Angeles)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners LH Vidal Nuno (1-4, 3.30 ERA) vs. Angels RH Garrett Richards (14-11, 3.73)

Nuno struggled in his last start and gave up five runs (four earned) and five hits in 3 1/3 innings while losing to the Texas Rangers. That was a much different result than his start against Texas 10 days earlier when he struck out 10 and allowed one hit in seven shutout innings. Nuno is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in four career appearances (two starts) against the Angels.

Richards is coming off a strong outing in which he allowed two runs and five hits in 8 2/3 innings while beating the Minnesota Twins. He has given up two runs in three of his last four turns but has struggled with his control by issuing 16 walks in 27 1/3 innings. Richards lost to Seattle on Sept. 14 when he was touched up for four runs and five hits in five innings and is 4-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 17 career appearances (nine starts).

WALK-OFFS

1. Angels 1B/DH Albert Pujols is batting .164 with two homers in 61 at-bats against the Mariners and is struggling in September (.156 with two homers in 77 at-bats).

2. Seattle 2B Robinson Cano is 9-for-27 with three homers and eight RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.

3. Los Angeles DH/1B C.J. Cron is 4-for-31 over his past eight games.

PREDICTION: Angels 4, Mariners 1