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Series Preview: Angels @ Mariners (The chase is on)

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Huge series (aren’t they all) for the wild card race

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

All of the series right now are important right? Well, this one REALLY is. I REALLY mean really. Right? After all, the Angels ARE chasing the Mariners in the wild card race so taking at least 3 out of 4 could be a huge boost. Right now the Yankees and Mariners hold on to spots #1 and #2 in the wild card race with the Angels 2 games back on the Mariners (and .5 ahead of the Orioles thanks to this last series).

The Angels are coming off a 6-3 home stand while the Mariners are coming off a 6-3 road trip.

Since the break, the Angels are hitting 20 points better than the Mariners with a margin of 14 in wRC+ and a stolen base margin of just 1 - those Mariners can steal too!

Pitch totals in the second half look like this:

ERA 4.05, FIP 4.40. HR 39
ERA 4.14, FIP 4.14, HR 26

Yep! The Mariners have given up more home runs than the Angels in the second half which is surprising considering Nolasco has probably given up 20 himself.

Should be a great series with maybe a small whiff of playoff baseball in the air.

Question: Can the Angels climb in the wild card after this series?

GAME 1

Tyler Skaggs v. James Paxton
Thursday, August 10th @ 7:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

Tyler Skaggs hasn’t yet put together a full season or all that great of one since joining the Angels. The closest he came was hi 18 starts and 4.30 ERA before TJ surgery in 2014. Skaggs has 6 starts this year and a 4.32 ERA with a 1.350 WHIP. His first start back since coming off the DL didn’t go that well but in his prior 3 starts before landing on the DL he had tossed 19 innings and allowed only 3 runs. Hopefully we’ll see more of the later because he’s going to need it against Paxton.

Sure Chris Sale probably has the AL Cy Young race locked up, but James Paxton would otherwise certainly be in the mix. Paxton has a 2.70 ERA this year with a 1.085 WHIP and 3.7 WAR. This dude has been a huge help in keeping the Mariners relevant. Felix who? Paxton has already faced the Angels twice this year, allowing just 2 earned runs in 11.2 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a start since June 16th and historically has been pretty tough on the Angels.

Verdict: Without even looking at the game odds, I’m gonna say Paxton at home over Skaggs at least +15. Okay now I looked and FiveThirtyEight has Paxton at +20% so... this is a tough series opener for the Halos.


GAME 2

JC Ramirez v. Marco Gonzales
Friday, August 11th @ 7:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Marco Gonzales was picked up by the Mariners in a July 21st trade. He’s only had 2 big league starts this year and has given up 5 runs both times. So he should be an ace against the Angels, right? Seems to work that way sometimes. His 4 home runs in 7.1 innings even puts Ricky Longball Nolasco to shame.

JC Ramirez is coming off a “bad” start so could have a good rebound in this one. In reality, it was a pretty solid start where he was left in too long in the end. Ramirez gave up 2 runs in 1.1 innings to the Mariners out of the pen back in early April before he became a starter. If you don’t count inning 7 of his last game, 5 of his last 6 starts have been really solid.

Verdict: Much better odds (never tell me the odds!) in game 2. Leans Angels especially if we get “good” Ramirez who has been pretty great much of the year.


GAME 3

Ricky Nolasco v. Erasmo Ramirez
Saturday, August 12th @ 6:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

The Mariners signed Erasmo Ramirez back in 2007 and Jerry Dipoto traded for him to come back to the Mariners in July. He’s been a reliever much of the season but back when he was on the Rays he threw 6 innings of 2 run ball against the Angels. He’s given up 7 runs in his last 2 starts.

During the second half last year, Ricky Nolasco was great for the Angels. During the first half this year he was a turd. So far, the second half of 2017 looks to be more of the same. However, he’s had 3 pretty good starts in his last 7 games, including a 9 inning shutout of Seattle on July 1st.

Verdict: Hopefully Nolasco can pull off even some of that mojo from his July 1st start at home against the Mariners and not the 4 runs in 4 inning he gave up in Seattle on May 3rd.


GAME 4

Parker Bridwell v. Ariel Miranda
Sunday, August 13th @ 1:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

Despite giving up 29 dingerz so far this year, Ariel Miranda has been one of the Mariners better pitchers. He has a 4.65 ERA and 1.162 WHIP this year. He’s faces the Angels twice this year, going 7 innings both times and allowed just 2 total runs.

Okay, so a smaller sample size, but Parker Bridwell has been REALLY impressive this year in 11 games. He still has a FIP of 4.65 which is way higher than his 3.00 ERA but his WHIP is also at 1.197 which is good. His K rate is kinda low but he makes it work. Best of all, Bridwell made the Orioles looks like fools for letting him go. In 3 of his last 4 starts, Bridwell has gone 7+ innings and hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in any of those games. The Mariners did beat up Bridwell with 5 runs over 6 innings back on June 30th

Verdict: This game should lean Angels with the way Bridwell has been pitching and if he doesn’t replicate what he did (or didn’t do) last time in Seattle.


Overall Verdict: The series could be a split but the Angels have a shot at gaining in the wild card this weekend, especially if they can pull off a win in game 1.