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Series Preview: Angels @ Mariners (Two out of three ain't bad)

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Angels head to Seattle to start the series against King Felix

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Lincecum, Skaggs, Shoemaker.  That pitching order sounds pretty good except for the opener #amiright?

This season is kind of like the above mentioned Meatloaf song.  "There's nothing left inside of here."  ie., this team has nowhere to go.  "That'll never changed the way I feel." But still fans, right??  This 2016 Angels season is one we want, one we need, but probably one we don't love.  Thanks for the words of wisdom Meatloaf.

The Angels are now firmly (I use that term loosely) in 4th place and chasing the Mariners.  If they do catch them, it's going to be a while since they are 5.5 games behind.  But the Halos have been playing good ball since July and stranger things have happened.

The Angels have outscored the Mariners 95-60 since All-Star break and they have the best AVG and OBP in all of baseball while the Mariners rank 27th.  Pitching, of course, has been the Achilles heel for the Angels, though their team ERA of 3.70 since the break is very respectable (Seattle is at 4.49).

These teams have already met 6 times this year and the Angels have taken 4 games.  The Halos took 12 of the 19 matchups in 2015.


Biggest question: Still wondering when The Freak shows up or gets the boot.

Game 1

Tim Lincecum vs. Felix Hernandez
Friday, August 5th, 2016 @ 7:10PM

Battle of the the former Cy Youngs

Tim Lincecum v. Mariner's Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
112 27 .241 22.6 5 4.59
Felix Hernandez v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
272 67 .246 24.7 7 3.08
Players/Stats to watch:
Mike Trout v. Felix Hernandez (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
72 28 15 5 .375
Over the past 6 games, Lincecum has given up - oh hell - let's just say a crap top of runs.  These pre-games with him pitching are getting depressing.  Let's hope Big Time Timmy Jim can take advantage of the Mariner's recent slump.  Then again, he might just be done done and it could be an early bullpen game.  His days are numbered.  At least he's pitching in Seattle, where he's from, so should have some home town support.
Hernandez has already lost to the Angels twice this year, though he did pitch 7 innings and gave up only 3 runs each time.  He also lost the last two times he faced the Halos in September, so is coming off a 4 game losing streak vs. the boys in red.  Hernandez is not the Cy Young winner he once was, but still pitches well and has given up more than 3 runs only 4 times this year.
VERDICT: Considering Lincecum's history, this game leans Mariners.
Game 2
Tyler Skaggs vs. Taijuan Walker
Saturday, August 6th, 2016 @ 6:10PM
Skaggs will rain hellfire down upon the Mariners.

Tyler Skaggs v. Mariners Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
22 6 .273 27.3 0 3.40
Taijuan Walker v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
43 7 .163 31.3 0 1.95
Players/Stats to watch:
Mike Trout v. Taijuan Walker (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
8 6 1 1 .750
Skaggs has been scary good since he's return from TJ surgery and looks to continue that dominance in Seattle.   He hasn't allowed a run in 12.1 innings and has struck out 13.  If you have doubts on his skills, you can go watch this.
Walker owned the Angels in two of his three starts agains this in 2015 but has yet to face them in 2016.  He's pitched well this year with a 3.66 ERA but has struggled to get pas the 5th or 6th inning in about half of his starts.  He gave up 3 homeruns and 5 runs over 4 innings in his last start agains the Astros.
VERDICT: Could be a pitching duel and tough to call this one.

Game 3
Matt Shoemaker v. James Paxton
Sunday, August 7th, 2016 @ 1:10PM

Would rather be facing Bill Paxton

Matt Shoemaker v. Mariners Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
106 25 .245 18.9 6 4.80
James Paxton v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
65 14 .215 18.8 2 3.91

Players/Stats to watch:
Nelson Cruz v. Matt Shoemaker (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
14 5 3 1 .357
Leonys Martin v. Matt Shoemaker (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
15 7 2 1 .467
Seth Smith v. Matt Shoemaker (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
10 4 2 2 .400
Many are wondering if the Shoemaker we saw at the end of 2014 and the Shoemaker we are seeing now is the real deal.  I say - who care?  Let's enjoy the ride.  Shoemaker is one of the reasons to watch Angels game these days and he doesn't disappoint.  Plus it's a fun game to guess how much run support he will get.  Hard to believe Shoey once had a 9+ ERA this season back in early May.
I suppose Paxton is having a decent year with a 3.93 ERA right?  He threw 8 innings of 4 hit ball against the Red Sox his last time on the mound and STILL got the loss.  Shoemaker knows how you feel buddy.  Paxton has really only had a couple of bad games in his 12 starts so far, and has not yet faced the 2016 Angels.  Paxton lost to the Angels twice in 2015, though he only gave up 2 runs both times.

VERDICT: Paxton has been pretty good and Shoemaker never gets run support so this will be a toughy.

OVERALL VERDICT: A sweep is doubtful, but the Angels might be able to pull off a series win.