The Angels are in tune up mode for the post-season, looking a little ahead and not paying much attention to the Seattle Mariners of the world.
The Mariners would love to change that in the next three games, but they’ll have to do it without their best lineup tonight.
No Ichiro, no Beltre, no Brayan, no Griffey.
Instead, the Mariners field their scrappy lineup the one with two Wilsons – Josh and Jack – leadoff hitter Franklin Gutierrez, cleanup hitter Mike Sweeney and left fielder Ryan Langerhans.
Luke French, meanwhile, will try to hold off a lineup in which the first six Angels are batting .300 or better.
The Mariners can win, they insist, with their game plan of pitching and defense early, a couple of runs late.
It’s French vs. Joe Saunders.
Make him work
The Mariners couldn’t score in the first inning, but they made Saunders work hard to stop them.
One of the prongs of the ’09 Seattle offense is to make the opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches, and with a single and two walks in the first, the Mariners got Saunders to throw 25 of them.
It may pay off later.
Trouble in the third
French gave up a single to Chone Figgins, hit Bobby Abreu and then wild-pitched both runners up a base – all with no one out.
Torii Hunter flied to right, just deep enough to get Figgins home. Vladimir Guerrero then hit one out to center field – deep enough to get two more runs in.
Juan Rivera singled and Kendry Morales doubled, and none of the balls hit in the inning was hit softly. Howie Kendrick grounded out for a fourth run.
In the third: Angels 4, Mariners 0
Outta the way, small fry
The Mariners haven’t been much more than a speed bump tonight against the Angels.
Hunter doubled, Guerrero singled and Juan Rivera hit his 21st home run.
The Mariners offense? The last 10 batters in a row have gone down quietly.
In the fifth: Angels 7, Mariners 0
French was gone after five, Chris Jakubauskas worked a scoreless sixth and then walked Hunter to open the seventh.
Mr. Guerrero then hit an upper deck shot into left field, his third multi-home run game of the season – and the 39th of his career.
In the seventh: Angels 9, Mariners 0
And in the end
It never got better. The Mariners never got closer, and now have not scored a run in 18 consecutive innings.
The Angels put them in their place tonight – which at the moment is 11 games back in the American League West.
It’s a final: Angels 10, Mariners 0