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LAA@TEX: Richards fans eight over seven scoreless

Runs will be at a premium in this matchup.

Felix Hernandez and Garrett Richards will face each other in their first starts of the season's second half. Hernandez was the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star game, giving up one hit and striking out two in one inning.

And then there was Richards, who did not make the All-Star team as a Final Vote candidate or injury replacement despite his 11-2 record and 2.55 ERA.

"I'll probably end up carrying that with me the rest of the year," Richards said. "It might be some motivation for the whole year."

He'll lead an Angels team that ended the season's first half on a five-game winning streak, along with 11 consecutive wins against American League West opponents. From June 6 to the All-Star break, they led the Major Leagues with a 26-9 record. And the Angels have won their last eight games when Richards pitches. His ERA since June is 1.27, which is the third lowest in the Majors behind Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright.

Not many pitchers could boast a better first half than Richards, but Hernandez is one of them. He enters Saturday's game with an 11-2 record and 2.12 ERA this season.

In his last 11 starts, he's 7-1 with a 1.46 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 13 walks.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon was asked if it's possible for Hernandez to be any better in the second half.

"There were several times when we didn't score a run for him," McClendon said. "I don't know if he can pitch any better, but his record can be better."

Hernandez gets his first chance against the scorching hot Angels team Saturday.

Angels: Break good for streaking Halos
The Angels entered the break as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning five straight, 10 of 11 and 19 of 23 games going into the four-day recess.

The Angels lead the Majors with a 26-9 record since June 6. Los Angeles swept Texas in a four-game series to cap the first half.

"Our guys were really fatigued after that series," Scioscia said. "It's good for them to catch their breath. For us to pick it back up, we have to get in tune with the things that got us playing well and getting wins."

The Angels tied the franchise record with 57 wins before the break while they were 20 games over .500 at the halfway point for the first time in club history. They led the Majors in runs while their starters ranked third in the American League in ERA.

Mariners: Tuesday's starter a mystery
The Mariners don't list a starter for Tuesday's home game against the Mets, and manager Lloyd McClendon joked that he might not know who it is until Tuesday.

"We haven't figured that out yet," he said. "Who knows? It might be a bullpen day."

Right-hander Taijuan Walker started Friday for Triple-A Tacoma, so it likely won't be him. Rehabbing left-hander James Paxton is at least one more rehab start away -- and, likely two, if the Mariners want him stretched to 90 pitches.

"I'm sure we'll probably have an answer by Sunday," McClendon said.

Worth noting
• The Angels have won the last eight season series against the Mariners.

• Los Angeles' 29 comeback wins lead the Majors.

• Mariners outfielder Stefan Romero rejoined the team on Friday after an 11-game refresher stint at Triple-A Tacoma.

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