The Mariners sit in last place in the AL West with a record of 11-15 and were swept by the Angels back in early April. They appear to be heating up, however, and scored more runs than any other team in the AL last week, but many are still asking - why aren’t the Mariners better? They also had the most HRs (11) over the past 7 days, and highest batting average at .291. Their pitching has been as sharp as the Angels but still a pretty solid 3.46 team ERA.
The Mariners have a great bullpen with the likes of Nick Vincent, James Pazos, Mike Ryzepczynski, and Edwin Diaz who all have a 1.20 or lower WHIP and .220 or lower BAA. They have allowed just 1 combined homerun in 39.2 combined IP.
Despite the Mariners being in last place and the Angels sweeping them in April, this could be a challenging matchup for both teams.
Question: After winning 6 out of the last 7, can the Angels stay hot?
Matt Shoemaker v. James Paxton
Tuesday, May 2nd @ 7:10PM
Tough matchup for the Cobbler
Pitchers vs. Batters:
The Angels haven’t faced James Paxton yet, who is arguably one of the best starters so far in this young season with his 1.39 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, .179 BAA, and he has yet to allow a homerun through 32.1 IP. The Angels faced him once last year back in August when he nearly threw a complete game and he lasted 8.1 innings with only 1 run allowed. Oddly enough, Matt Shoemaker was on the losing end of that battle despite a quality start of his own. Albert Pujols only has 4 hits off Paxton but half of them are homeruns.
Shoemaker is coming off 3 solid starts in a row in which he’s only allowed 2 earned runs. In fact, he’s only allowed 2 earned runs in 4 of his 5 starts this season. Steroid cheater Nelson Cruz has had some good success against Shoemaker over the years. And yes, I think we need to call out cheaters more often. People usually forget and move on once they player comes back from suspension. I’d love to see Shoey shut down Cruz in a big way on Tuesday.
Verdict: Paxton has been unbeatable so far this year and definitely gives the Mariners the edge in the series opener.
Ricky Nolasco v. Hisashi Iwakuma
Wednesday, May 3rd @ 7:10PM
Can haz 2016 Nolasco back please?
Pitchers vs. Batters:
Ricky Nolasco hasn’t been as sharp as he was for the Angels in 2016, but he’s still been pretty solid outside of one bad start. On Thursday, Nolasco pitched his first game in which he didn’t allow a homerun - a task that will be tough to replicate with this long ball hitting Seattle team. He gave up a homerun to Mitch Haninger back on April 8th.
Hisashi Iwakuma has been really hard on most of the Angels outside of Yunel Escobar who has been struggling as of late. Take a look at those Trout/Pujols stats above and be depressed. Iwakuma 2-hit the Angels through 6 innings back on April 9th - a game the Angels still managed to win thanks to late inning heroics and an “impossible” 7 run 9th inning comeback for the ages.
Verdict: Another tough pitching matchup for the Angels.
Daniel Wright v. Ariel Miranda
Thursday, May 4th @ 7:10PM
Daniel Wright should get the start to close out the series.
Pitchers vs. Batters
Daniel Wright will
(should) be making his 3rd start of the season. His last time out he threw 80 pitches and shut out the Blue Jays for 5 innings. He hasn’t ever faced any of the current Mariner’s roster.
Ariel Miranda has been a bit up and down this year but still has a 3.81 ERA. He’s given up 4 runs twice but 2 or less in his other 3 starts. In his short rookie 2016 season, he managed to face the Angels 3 times and went 2-0. The last time he faced them in September, he shut them down for 6 innings and allowed only 3 hits.
Verdict: Both pitchers come with a bit of a wildcard so flip a coin on this but I don’t expect either stater to go more than 5 or 6 innings.
Overall Verdict: The Angels have some tough pitching matchups that should make it a challenge to win the series.