It's been a long 20 days for Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Known as one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, the right-hander has been out of the rotation with a strained left oblique muscle.
"It's really hard," Hernandez said of being inactive. "I've been bored. I don't know what to do. It's different."
He'll finally take the hill on Sunday at Angel Stadium trying to prevent the Angels from completing a three-game sweep.
Hernandez (12-9, 3.01 ERA) has made at least 30 starts every year since 2006 and has pitched 200 or more innings in his last five seasons. Sitting at 29 starts and 194 1/3 innings this year, he wants to reach those marks again.
"That's why they have me here," he said. "I need to pitch. And you know I'm a competitor. I just want to get out on the mound."
Manager Eric Wedge said the team will keep a close eye on Hernandez, who has struggled in his career against the Angels, going 8-13 with a 3.95 ERA in 34 career starts.
He could be in for another hard time against the Halos with their recent surge of success. They are two games under .500 for the first time since June and have won eight of their last 10 games.
Left-hander C.J. Wilson (17-6, 3.36 ERA) gets the nod for the Angels. He's been one of the few bright spots for the team this season, notching a career high in wins Monday.
He limited the A's to just one run on four hits in seven innings for his fourth straight win. He also struck out six and walked three. Getting victories in nine straight decisions, he is 13-1 with a 2.91 ERA since June 14.
"If you're throwing your innings, taking the ball, making your starts, that's worth something. That's really all I can do," Wilson said. "Hopefully that continues to happen for the rest of my time in an Angel uniform. I just want to win, and I want to be a consistent piece to the rotation."
Mariners: Ramirez expected to make next start
• Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who was removed from Friday's start against the Angels because of tightness in his right groin, was feeling better and expects to make his next start in Seattle.
"He says he feels pretty good today," Wedge said prior to Saturday's game. "We'll see how he does moving around and whatnot. We want him to take it easy today, but he should be OK."
Ramirez was cruising with a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, but felt his groin tighten on a pitch to Mark Trumbo. Trumbo wound up reaching on an error and Ramirez then walked the next batter before signaling that he was feeling discomfort.
Angels: Shoemaker making most of time
• A day after Matt Shoemaker pitched five scoreless innings against the Mariners in his Major League debut, his adrenaline was still flowing.
When ace Jered Weaver was scratched from Friday's start with right forearm tightness, the Angels opted to call on Shoemaker -- an undrafted free agent who signed with the team in 2008.
"My goal as a little kid was to play in the Major Leagues," Shoemaker said Saturday. "Now my goal slowly turns into 'I want to make a career out of the Major Leagues.' That's just my continual goal -- get better every day and learn something new for myself."
• For the first time in team history, the Angels have had a rookie collect at least 120 hits in three straight seasons. Mark Trumbo accomplished the feat in 2011, Mike Trout did it in 2012 and J.B. Shuck has done it this year.
• The Mariners are 18-28 in one-run games this year, including 9-20 on the road. They've also gone 6-14 in extra-inning games, the most extra-inning losses in franchise history.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter or MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.