Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

Harry How

Spring Training has come to a close. All thirty teams in the MLB are ready to go. Mike Trout and the Angels are kicking off their season on a Monday night at The Big A against the Robinson Cano and the Mariners.

Last season did not exactly go according to plan. Inking Josh Hamilton to a massive deal to join Albert Pujols and Mike Trout never produced what everyone expected. This season, after not making shocking deal in the offseason, the Angels are showing up with a slightly retooled team. Mark Trumbo is gone and Tyler Skaggs is back (and in the majors). Joe Blanton was finally let go and the team added Joe Smith to the bullpen. Even the coaching staff experienced some change. Dino Ebel is moving from third base to the bench and a former Halo, Don Baylor, is the new hitting coach. But don't worry, Mike Butcher is still the pitching coach.

The Angels stayed healthy this spring and the stage is set for a playoff run. Mike Trout does not have a contract to think about and everyone can just focus on playing baseball. The season starts at home against the Seattle Mariners. Of course, the most notable change for the Mariners is the addition of Robinson Cano.

March 31 7:05pm (chance of showers, 60°) -- FOX Sports West, Root Sports Northwest, ESPN2

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Felix Hernandez 12-10 3.04 1.131 216 46

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Jered Weaver 11-8 3.27 1.140 117 37

This will be Jered Weaver's sixth Opening Day start and has only lost one of them (and a no decision in last year's marathon opener with the Reds). On MLB Network, Peter Gammons said he expects Weaver to be dominant even with his declining pitch speed. Weaver's fastball now sits around 87 mph. He goes against Seattle's pitching darling, Felix Hernandez. This will actually be King Felix's seventh Opening Day start despite being just 27 years old.

For those of you outside of the local TV market like myself, ESPN2 will be carrying the game.

April 1 7:05pm (chance of showers, 58°) -- FOX Sports West, Root Sports Northwest, MLB Network

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Erasmo Ramirez 5-3 4.98 1.452 57 26

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - C.J. Wilson 17-7 3.39 1.342 188 85

C.J., after having a respectable 2013 season, sticks around as the team's number two guy. On the other end is Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez had an enjoyable Spring Training by going 3-0 with 20 strikeouts and just 2 walks.

Again, non-local fans are in luck. MLB Network will carry this ballgame.

April 2 7:05pm (chance of rain, 65°) -- FOX Sports West, Root Sports Northwest

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - James Paxton 3-0 1.50 0.917 21 7

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Hector Santiago 4-9 3.56 1.403 137 72

This is where things get interesting. Hector Santiago, the player who also came over from the Trumbo-Skaggs deal, is getting a start in the opening series. Santiago will join Skaggs and Wilson as the club's lefty starters. And if the bullpen gets any thinner, Santiago or Skaggs will have to move into the bullpen. James Paxton for the Mariners comes in as an unknown that started just four games last season, earning a win in all but one of them.

Injuries

Name Status Est. Return
LAA Sean Burnett (back)
Dane De La Rosa (right forearm)
Brian Moran (left elbow)
Ryan Brasier (elbow)
15-day DL
N/A
N/A
15-day DL
Mid-April
Early April
April
Mid-April
SEA Hisashi Iwakuma (finger)
Stephen Pryor (shoulder surgery)
Taijuan Walker (right shoulder)
15-day DL
15-day DL
15-day DL
Late April
April
Late April

*Next week, stats and notes will pertain to this season.

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