video thumbnail

CWS@LAA: Williams fans three over six strong innings

The Angels are 17-27 on the year and sit in fourth place in the American League West, a long way away from the rivals they were supposed to battle atop the division. But perhaps there is reason for optimism this week.

The Angels bounced back from a three-game losing streak by winning two in a row against the White Sox. Their ailing bullpen is starting to get healthy. And they're set to welcome the Mariners to Angel Stadium, which has been nothing but good news for them over the past few years.

Seattle has won only nine of its last 33 games in Anaheim, and the Angels have gone 77-41 against the Mariners dating back to 2007, the most wins by any team in the Majors against one club in that span.

The Angels will look to improve on that record Tuesday night, when they send Jerome Williams to the mound against Mariners right-hander Aaron Harang. And they could have left-hander Sean Burnett back in their bullpen as well.

Burnett threw an inning Saturday night for Class A Inland Empire and hopes to return for Tuesday's game. Burnett struck out two and allowed a homer in his Minor League rehab appearance. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday was "definitely a possibility" for Burnett, who's been out since April 28 with left forearm irritation.

"There's so much that can come together here in a very short time," Scioscia said. "We're definitely excited at the prospects of having a reworked bullpen here in the next week."

Williams is coming off a strong performance against Chicago, having allowed two runs in six innings. He was removed from the game after only 74 pitches because Scioscia didn't feel he was stretched out enough.

He'll line up opposite Harang, who had to skip his scheduled start Thursday due to lower back stiffness. Harang experienced no setbacks on Monday, when he ran and underwent some tests. Manager Eric Wedge also was encouraged by the bullpen session Harang threw on Sunday.

"It went pretty good," Wedge said. "You don't want to go too far with it, but he had a good work day and was even getting off the mound and fielding some bunts and things. So it was a pretty good test yesterday."

After shaky performances in each of his first three outings, Harang has put together back-to-back quality starts, allowing two runs over six innings each time out. But Seattle couldn't reward Harang's work with a win in his last start, dropping him to 1-4 on the year, with a 7.30 ERA.

He'll be looking to get the Mariners headed back in the right direction after a four-game sweep in Cleveland that included a back-and-forth walkoff defeat on Monday afternoon.

Mariners: Power coming for patient Smoak?
Before a 1-for-5 performance on Monday, first baseman Justin Smoak was 21-for-65 (.323) with a .457 on-base percentage over his previous 20 games. Smoak leads the team with a .366 OBP after posting a .290 mark last year.

Power has been another issue for Smoak, who has yet to slug .400 in four big league seasons. He is at .367 this year, but that number is on the rise after he homered for the second time in three games on Monday.

"We're seeing him drive the ball more. He's definitely moving the right direction," Wedge said. "The home runs and RBIs are not there yet, but he'll continue to get better with that because it's in there. I've always felt he'd be a good on-base guy because once he starts hunting the ball, he puts himself in better position to drive the ball, he'll see the ball better too and take his walks or get his hits. That's what you're starting to see. You're watching a young player mature right now. I do believe the home runs and RBIs will be there because he has it in him. The strength is there."

• Outfielder Raul Ibanez didn't play on Monday but has hit six homers over his eight games.

Angels: Nelson joins roster, Jimenez optioned
Infielder Chris Nelson joined the Angels' 25-man roster on Sunday, his third team in 22 days. The Angels claimed Nelson, 27, off waivers on Saturday and optioned Luis Jimenez to Triple-A Salt Lake to clear room for the former member of the Rockies and Yankees. Nelson can play second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield, though Scioscia hasn't decided on a specific role for Nelson.

"I'm finally here and hopefully I can be here for a while," Nelson said. "I'm just excited to be here and I'm ready to showcase my talent."

• Right-hander Barry Enright cleared waivers and will join Triple-A Salt Lake.

Worth noting
• Angels right-hander Ryan Madson will pitch in Triple-A at some point "early this week," Scioscia said.

• Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen has held right-handed batters hitless in 31 at-bats this season, striking out nine and walking four.

MLB.com Comments