J. Saunders looks for road momentum

J. Saunders looks for road momentum

ANAHEIM -- The road hasn't been kind to Mariners pitcher Joe Saunders this season, but the 32-year-old lefty figures he's put all that behind him after knocking out his first victory away from Safeco Field on Friday.

Saunders beat the A's in Oakland in his last start with seven innings of one-run ball and now faces the Angels on Wednesday in the familiar setting of Angel Stadium, where he played his first six seasons in the Majors.

Saunders is now 1-4 with a 7.58 ERA in seven road starts, compared to 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA at Safeco Field. But the important thing for the eight-year veteran is that he's been pitching well regardless of what mound he's standing on, going 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last four outings, two on the road, two at home.

"I feel like this is where I should be," Saunders said. "Obviously the first four road starts weren't exactly the way I planned them out, but now I've turned the page a little bit. My whole thing I pride myself on is being consistent, especially on the road. So I've tried to really turn the page with that, be more consistent and throw up good numbers and stuff and put that other fluky four starts behind me."

The former Virginia Tech standout understands how his road worries became a story. He dealt with the issue head on as his struggles played out, but couldn't wait to put it behind him.

"It's one of those things where it happened, I knew it wasn't me, so it was just a matter of waiting every second of every day to get back out on the road and get back out there and try to put it behind me," he said. "I try to focus more on the road. Obviously our road record isn't very good. It's not where it should be or needs to be, so we as a team know we can play better on the road and now it's just a matter of stepping up and showing it as an organization. It's up to us."

As for pitching in Angel Stadium? He's 25-19 with a 4.60 ERA in 64 career starts in Anaheim, but has pitched there just once since leaving the Angels in 2010. He lost a 2-0 decision at Angel Stadium while with the D-backs last year.

"This is a pretty fair ballpark," he said. "You don't have the big Green Monster or a short fence in right like Yankee Stadium or something like that. It's pretty fair all the way around, so you just go out there and do your thing."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.