Mar 31, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak (17) celebrates with first baseman Logan Morrison (20) after hitting a 3-run homer in the ninth inning agaist the Los Angeles Angels in an opening day baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Gameday Preview at Los Angeles Angels

Feb 20, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (65) poses for a picture during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 20, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (65) poses for a picture during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Initial Thoughts:

The Mariners were 2-0 at this juncture in the season last year– though they started in Japan against the Oakland Athletics. Many people– on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever kids use these days– are either sky-high with excitement or very cautious about the successful start to this season.

What’s wrong with getting a little amped about a Seattle Mariners victory? Being hopeful? I’ll keep doing my happy dance every time Dustin Ackley does something good with a baseball bat, thank you very much. And who is this Justin Smoak kid everyone keeps talking about? Is he good or something?

Game Details:

Seattle Mariners (2-0) — Previous 10: (2-0)

Los Angeles Angels (0-2) — Previous 10: (0-2)

Time of game: 7:05 PM Pacific. Location: Anaheim, California.

 

MATCHUPS:

Pitching:

Mariners: James Paxton (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (0-0, -.– ERA).

EDGE: Santiago. Almost verbatim what I said yesterday: former White Sox pitcher Santiago has proven Major League experience. Sure, Paxton impressed late last season and throughout the Spring, but until he is mowing down Major Leaguers on an every 5 day basis, the edge has to go to experience.

Projected Lineups:

Mariners:

Abraham Almonte 8

Brad Miller 6

Robinson Cano 4

Justin Smoak 3

Kyle Seager 5

Corey Hart DH

Michael Saunders 9

Dustin Ackley 7

Mike Zunino 2

Of note: Expect Willie Bloomquist to get into the lineup either today, tomorrow, or the second  game of the series against Oakland. He is currently the only position player yet to see action this season.

 

Angels:

Kole Calhoun 9

Mike Trout 8

Albert Pujols 3

Josh Hamilton 7

David Freese 5

Raul Ibanez DH

Howie Kendrick 4

Chris Iannetta 2

Erick Aybar 6

Of note: Mariners pitching held Mike Trout to an 0-3 night with a strikeout last night. For the Angels to have a chance at winning this game– cause let’s face it the Mariners are SO HOT RIGHT NOW– their righty bats are going to need to get going against young Paxton.

 

Keys to Mariner Victory:

1) Reload: Can the lefty heavy lineup hit a lefty starting pitcher? The M’s got to C.J. Wilson last night to the tune of 6 earned runs. An encore performance is needed for the Mariners to sweep their way out of Los Angeles.

2) Let the good vibes keep rolling. Ackley, Smoak, and Robinson Cano are all off to great starts. Can they maintain? If anything, teams are going to have to stop walking Cano (2 IBB, 1 BB in 2 games) if Smoak is going to drive him in every time they do.

3) Which Paxton will we see? The one who struggled with control in Triple-A Tacoma last season? Or the guy with a 1.50 ERA in three September starts last season? If it’s the latter, whoa nellie.

 

Other Notes:

Waking up at 4 am to start my day is exhilarating. Watching the Mariners as the sun rises, then showering and going to school? It’s pretty sweet. Though I’ll be happy to be back in the states in June to watch baseball in the evening like normal people.

 

Final Thoughts:

Get the brooms out folks! I’m going to keep riding this Mariners hot streak until I’m depressed and never want to leave my room ever again. The Angels have been notorious for slow April starts in recent seasons– the Mariners will help continue that trend.

Score Prediction: Mariners 5, Angels 3.

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Tags: Gameday Preview Seattle Mariners

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