Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Shoemaker, Iwakuma set for Halos-Mariners finale

The season-opening three-game series pitting the Angels and Mariners at Safeco Field comes to an end Wednesday, with a matchup between Matt Shoemaker and Hisashi Iwakuma.
If history is any indication, we're in for a pitchers' duel.
Iwakuma had one bad start against the Angels last year -- when he gave up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings at Angel Stadium on Sept. 15 -- but has gone 6-1 with a 2.75 ERA in 10 career games (nine starts) against them. Shoemaker, meanwhile, has a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 career innings vs. the Mariners, striking out 18 and walking two.
• With right-handers on the mound, both teams likely will return to their Opening Day lineups. That means Matt Joyce plays left field and bats fourth for the Angels, and Dustin Ackley (left) and Seth Smith (right) play the corner-outfield spots for the Mariners.
• Mike Trout is one home run away from 100 in his career. When he hits it, he'll likely become the youngest player to reach the 100-homer, 100-steal threshold. The current record holder is Alex Rodriguez, who got there at 23 years and 309 days in 1999. Trout, with 102 career steals, turned 23 last August.
• Nelson Cruz, signed to a four-year, $57 million contract with Seattle in the offseason, is the sixth player over the last 100 years to change teams after leading the Majors in home runs, according to Stats Inc. Cruz belted 40 homers for the Orioles last season.

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