While the Mariners flail away in the AL West cellar, the Angels are fighting to stay above water. Despite that, the Angels are only 5-8 against the Mariners this season, but they lost the first 5 early in the season when the Mariners were on a roll. Since then, the Angels are 5-3 with 55 runs scored (6.9 per game).
Mariners insight from Kate Preusser of Lookout Landing:
The last time the Mariners and Angels met up, the two clubs’ records looked almost identical to how they’ll look at the outset of this series, with the Mariners double-digit numbers under .500 and the Angels closer to shouting distance of the .500 mark. After a hot start, the Mariners fizzled out over May and are now well and truly cooked for the season, and have hung a FOR SALE sign around virtually every remaining veteran’s neck. The few fans that remain hang around hoping to see growth from the team’s newer pieces for the future like slick-fielding J.P. Crawford and baseball-bashing Daniel Vogelbach, but understand that bright spots are few and far between. They’re also hoping to see improvement on the pitching staff from Marco Gonzales, who started the season strong but stumbled recently, and Yusei Kikuchi, still adjusting to the demands of MLB. Unfortunately, in addition to being ineffective, the 2019 Mariners have also been extraordinarily injured; Mitch Haniger hasn’t even resumed looking at a baseball (painful memories) and the best reliever in the ‘pen, Austin Adams, is on the IL. If the Angels want to make a run at the Rangers and Athletics in the AL West, beating up on the zombie Mariners is a good place to start.
Know your foe:
Mariners- who’s hot (last 7 days):
No one really. Though Domingo Santana over his last 12 games is hitting .311 with a home run if you want to call that “hot”.
(R) Felix Peña (4.73) v. (R) Mike Leake (4.32 ERA)
Friday, July 12th @ 7:07PM
Taylor Cole is the opener and in 7 plate appearances vs the Mariners this year, he’s yet to give up a hit. Felix Peña has only given up 5 hits to the Mariners in 10.1 innings, but 3 of those left the ballpark and he also walked 5. That combination lead to his 5.23 ERA despite only having a .139 BAA. Peña has definitely dropped off since his fairly decent start. He had a 3.42 ERA through the end of May but a Harvey-ish 7.40 ERA over his last 6 starts.
Nearly half the hits Mike Leake has give up to the Angels have left the ballpark (5 of 11), so if they can hit him, they are good, right? Lest you get too hard on Leake, if he were on the Angels pitching staff, his WAR would be almost twice the next best pitcher. In 5 of his last 7 starts, Leake has lasted 7 innings or more and he has a 3.49 ERA over that span.
(R) Matt Harvey (7.50) v. TBD
Saturday, July 13h @ 6:07PM
Guess who’s back? Okay fine, I already told you. Are you worried? You probably should be. The Angels voodoo magic pitching staff and analytics department is unlikely to get this goose to lay golden eggs. Harvey gave up 13 hits and 11 runs in his 2 starts and 6 innings of rehab for Salt Lake. Even the hitter friendly PCL league is no excuse for those number.
(L) José Suarez (5.40 ERA) v. (L) Yusei Kikuchi (4.94 ERA)
Sunday, July 14th @ 1:07PM
José Suarez is averaging only 4.7 innings per start. He has already faced the Mariners twice this year - his first two starts of the season and has been alright as you can see above. The long ball has been hurting Suarez who has given up 8 of them in 6 starts and 28.1 innings.
The Angels have owned Yusei Kikuchi over this 3 starts. In just 11.2 innings, they have racked up 29 hits and 16 runs (14 earned). Outside of that, he’s had a pretty unremarkable debut season with a handful of solid starts. In his past 3 games, Kikuchi has a 4.00 ERA with 9 walks and 2 home runs allowed.
Overall Verdict: The Angels should win the series and who knows, they could even pull off a sweep. They should be at least at .500 by Sunday.
Current Standings (sorted by playoff odds)
(Pitch tracking data from baseballsavant.mlb.com)
(Splits from FanGraphs Splits Tool and Baseball Reference)
(Standings/odds from fivethirtyeight.com)