Angels hope to avoid elimination in Seattle
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have no room for error.
On the brink of elimination from the playoff race, the Angels turn to C.J. Wilson for the opener of a three-game series versus the Seattle Mariners.
The Angels have won seven of their last nine games, but a split of Sunday's doubleheader with the AL West-leading Texas Rangers left them three back of the Oakland Athletics for the league's second wild card spot with three to play.
That means that Los Angeles will be eliminated from postseason contention with its next loss or one victory by the A's, who do have to battle the Rangers for a season-ending set in Oakland.
Former Angel Mike Napoli haunted his former club yet again, homering twice and driving in six runs to lift Texas to an 8-7 win in Sunday's nightcap.
Torii Hunter had rallied the Angels for a 5-4 victory in the first game with a two-run double in the ninth.
"We have to go out there and take care of our business," Hunter said of his team trailing the A's by three games with three left to play.
Mike Trout has done just that this year. The outfielder matched a franchise rookie record with his 48th steal on Sunday and become the first MLB rookie to notch at least 30 homers and 40 steals in a season with his home run in the first game.
Wilson, one of the Angels' big free agent prizes this past winter, will look to hurl his team to a win tonight.
The lefty has gone 0-1 in three starts since winning three in a row and did not factor into a 4-3 win over the Mariners on Wednesday. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, striking out five. His costly mistake came in the fourth frame when he allowed a solo homer to Justin Smoak that put the Mariners ahead.
Wilson, 31, is 12-10 with a 3.86 earned run average in 33 starts this year and did beat the Mariners in the only other time he faced them this year prior to last week. He notched a 4-2 road win back on May 27 thanks to six innings of one-run ball.
Like he did last week, Wilson will square off against Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who is looking to get back into AL Cy Young Award talks with his first win since Aug. 27.
Hernandez failed to win a game in September, losing his first three outings of the month before pitching well in back-to-back no-decisions. He held the Baltimore Orioles to just a run in eight innings of his team's 3-1 loss on Sept. 19 and then gave up two runs and fanned nine over six innings versus the Angels on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old righty is 13-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 32 games this season, but that includes just an 0-2 record and 5.13 ERA in four versus the Angels.
Seattle didn't help Los Angeles at all over the weekend, getting swept in three games by Oakland. That includes a 5-2 loss on Sunday that saw the Athletics hit a pair of homers in the eighth inning to go ahead.
"The A's are feeling it right now. Just huge home runs for them late in the ballgames the last couple nights," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Kyle Seager and Smoak drove in runs for the Mariners, who have lost six of seven.
The Angels are 10-6 versus the Mariners this season, taking six of seven in Seattle.
10/01 11:01:25 ET