The Los Angeles Angels finished with a losing record for just the second time in 10 years in 2013.
Now, they're staring at potentially their worst start to a season in 13.C.J. Wilson will try to help the Angels bounce back by re-establishing his success against the visiting Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.Los Angeles has fallen short of the playoffs for four straight seasons, and the team greatly underachieved last year while going 78-84.So far, 2014 is off to a rocky start.The Angels blew a two-run lead before the bullpen was tagged for six in the ninth while falling 10-3 in the opener of this three-game series Monday.Giving the ball to Wilson should improve Los Angeles' chances of avoiding its first 0-2 start since 2001.Wilson went 17-7 with a 3.39 ERA, setting a career high in wins, while also leading the Angels in strikeouts (188) and innings (212 1-3). The left-hander compiled a 2.55 ERA in 14 home outings, but he went just 6-4 there after being backed by an average of 3.06 runs in the seven starts that ended in Angels losses.Wilson has also had success against the Mariners, going 8-2 with a 2.14 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings over 11 starts. However, he was charged with a 3-2 loss in the latest one Sept. 22, giving up three runs and eight hits while fanning nine in 8 1/3 innings.Mike Trout quickly picked up where he left off from last season, when he finished third in the AL with a .323 average while hitting 27 homers with 97 RBIs. The two-time All-Star outfielder had two hits in the series opener, including a two-run homer in the first inning.He's batting .371 with 15 RBIs over his last 19 home meetings with the Mariners. Trout is also 4 for 10 with a homer off scheduled starter Erasmo Ramirez.Ramirez is supposed to get the nod after the Mariners placed All-Star right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list recovering from a torn ligament in his right middle finger.Ramirez was 5-3 with a 4.98 ERA in 14 games -- 13 starts -- in 2013. The right-hander pitched well in two starts versus the Angels, compiling a 1.42 ERA, but went 0-1 since he was given two runs of support.He was pulled after allowing two unearned runs in six-plus innings of a 3-2 loss in 11 in his last outing in Anaheim on Sept. 20.Ramirez earned his spot after going 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA in six games -- five starts in spring training."He's a strike thrower," manager Lloyd McClendon told the team's official website. "It's never been an issue of whether he could throw strikes, it's been an issue of whether or not he could throw quality strikes."Robinson Cano, the Mariners' $240 million signing this winter, went 2 for 4 with a double Monday. He's 13 for 22 (.591) over his past six meetings with the Angels.The second baseman is 11 for 30 lifetime versus Wilson after going 3 for 7 with a double last season.Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley combined for four hits and six RBIs in the opener. Three of Smoak's six hits in 29 at-bats against Wilson have been homers, while Ackley is 10 for 22 (.455) in his last six games versus Los Angeles.
Raul Ibanez homered Tuesday, the 40th time he's gone deep since turning 40 years old. That's tied for the ninth-most home runs after the age of 40 in major league history. He is just two behind Hank Aaron for eighth and four behind Ted Williams for seventh.
C.J. Wilson allowed a .203 batting average against on at-bats that ended in his curveball last season, fifth best among qualified lefties. Seattle compiled a .165 batting average against lefty curveballs last season, second-worst in baseball and well below the .224 league average. Seattle added Robinson Cano, who hit .250 against lefty curveballs last season.