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Series Preview: Angels @ Mariners (Off to see the Wizard)

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Angels head to the Emerald City in hopes of the Wizard ending their skid

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Oh great and powerful Oz!  We have but one wish - to end our 6 game losing streak.  Can you make that happen?  We aren't heading all the way to the Emerald City for just coffee.

Top billed cast:

Mike Scioscia as the Tin Man
Albert Pujols as the Cowardly Lion
Arte Moreno as the Great and Powerful Oz
Jerry Dipoto as the Wicked Witch of the West
Billy Eppler as Glinda the Good Witch
C.J. Cron as the Scarecrow
Mike Trout as Dorothy 
Mariner's fans as the Winged Monkeys

In this episode of "try not to get swept again", the Tin Man leads his crew into the den of the first place Seattle Mariners.  Can he find is heart?  Will Dorothy make it home (more than once)?  Can the Lion find his courage and and admit he's not good anymore?  Stay tuned - it will be fun weekend!  And by fun, I mean, just slightly better than getting a root canal.

The Wicked Witch of the West made a flurry of mostly small changes to his team over the off season, and here they are in first place.  I think the fact they are in first, speaks more to the weakness of the West than of how good the Mariners really are.  However, the Mariner's off-season Korean pickup has hit 5HR with a .321 OBP and the free agent bullpen dude they signed has 11 saves and a 0.98 ERA.  I'm pretty sure Dipoto will be laughing on the inside all weekend long, since he can see the aftermath of the dysfunctional organization he left behind in 2015.

The Mariners' batting stats are really not drastically different from the Angels, until it come to homeruns and runs scored, along with the dreaded GDP.   Of course, the Angels closed the gap on some of these stats CONSIDERABLY with their surprise slugfest last night.


AVG OBP HR Runs GDP
Mariners .246 .319 47 152 26
Angels .244 .311 28 123 38


When  it comes to pitching, the Mariners have the best staff in the American League right now and are leading all teams in ERA, BAA, and WHIP.

Biggest question (that we already know the answer to):  What happens when the best pitching staff collides with the worst offense?  Hint:  It's probably gonna look like the Wicked Witch when Dorothy threw water on her.

Game 1

Nick Tropeano vs. Nathan Karns
Friday, May 13, 2016 @ 7:10PM

Both pitchers sport an almost identical ERA and K rate.

Nick Tropeano v. Mariners Current Roster (2014-2016)
AB H AVG BABIP K% HR
46 13 .283 .308 14.0 1
Nathan Karns v. Angels Current Roster (2013-2015)
AB H AVG BABIP K% HR
27 9 .333 .227 6.5 4
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Nathan Karns (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
6 3 2 1 .500

Tropeano has yet to pitch through the 6th inning this season.  On April 22 he faced 23 Seattle batters and only gave up 4 hits and 2 earned runs, lasting 5.1 innings.  His first three starts of the year were notably better than his last 3 starts, so hopefully he can get back to that earlier season form for this game.
Karns has had a great game every other game he pitches.  His last time out was pretty impressive with 9Ks and 1ER over 6.1IP.  He's due for a not so great game this time around, but the Angels have been truly fantastic at bucking trends.  He's given up 9 hits over the past few years to members of the current Halo roster, and 4 of them have been homeruns (Pujols, Johnny G, and Mike Trout).  Not a lot of other notable stats here.
VERDICT: It's Friday the 13th, so you might want to rub your lucky rabbits foot, throw salt over your shoulder and hope a black cat doesn't cross any Angels paths (but we will take an orange rally cat).  That being said, I think we have a shot at winning this one, but only if Karns falters early.

Game 2
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Hisashi Iwakuma
Saturday, May 14, 2016 @ 6:10PM

It's the debut of new Angels pitching savior, Jhoulys Chacin!

Hisashi Iwakuma v. Anaheim Angels (2015-2016)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
5 35.1 11 5 22 .240 2.82
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Hishashi Iwakuma (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
42 6 5 1 .142
Nori Aoki v. Jhoulys Chacin (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
11 4 3 3 .364
Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron both hit dingers off Iwakuma back on April 22nd, but in true Angels fashion, they were the only runs scored all game and Iwakuma pitched 8 strong innings. Iwakuma is apparently Pujols' achilles heel, since he's managed only 6 hits in 42 trips against him.  Iwakuma is not having the best year, but he always seems to pitch well against the Angels.
Chacin hasn't faced anyone on the current Mariners roster other than Steve Clevenger (0 for 5) and Aoki, whose 3 homeruns off him have only come in 4 hits.  This is Chacin's chance to prove himself for the Angels, but my hopes are tempered.
VERDICT: Iwakuma may notch his second win here unless Chacin comes in on fire, like a man trying to prove he can pitch (which is exactly the spot he is in).

Game 3

Hector Santiago vs. Felix Hernandez
Sunday, May 15, 2016 @ 1:10PM

Mike Trout owns the would-be king and Santiago owns the Mariners

Hector Santiago v. Seattle Mariners (2015-2016)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
3 20 4 1 20 .208 1.80
Felix Hernandez v. Anaheim Angels (2015-2016)
G IP R HR SO BA ERA
7 47 11 7 47 .194 2.11
Players/Stats to watch:
Mike Trout v. Felix Hernandez (Last 5 years)
AB RBI SO HR BA
68 15 21 5 .368

This game brings a pitching rematch from April 23rd in Anaheim, where Santiago bested Hernandez in a 4-2 victory.  Santiago has faced Hernandez twice in the past year and the Angels have won both games.  Given Hernandez's stats over the past 2 years agains the Angels, it's a bit of a surprise that he's only 3-2 in 7 games.  Some of that damage has come from home runs, and some from Mike Trout (mostly both).

Mike Trout loves going yard off Hernandez.  Among active players, Mike Trout has more home runs off him than anyone over the past 5 years.  Trout also boasts a .400 OBP, but a very high 31% strikeout rate.  Hernandez challengesTrout and does get the Ks, but Trout also makes him pay.  Always a fun matchup to watch.

VERDICT: Trout will hit another homerun and he will strike out at least once.  Santiago will bounce back and continue to dominate the Mariners.  Angels pull off a series win if they take game 1.

OVERALL VERDICT: We need a series win here, or for the love of all things holy - at least one win.  The Angels face the Dodgers next week, and will have a challenge pulling a win against Maeda or Kershaw.