Apr 3, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) catches the ball in front of starting pitcher Roenis Elias (29) against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Gameday Preview Versus Los Angeles Angels


Initial Thoughts:

Your Seattle Mariners are 5-2! With a 5-3 victory last night over the Angels, the Mariners have now won as many games against the Halos this season (4-0) as they did all of last season (4-15). The M’s sit a whole game ahead of the Athletics in the standings (4-3), with the Texas Rangers at 4-4. The Angels and Houston Astros are tied for last with 3 wins and 5 losses.

I can’t even guess how long it’s been since the Mariners led the division (even after just 7 games). But with everyday comes a new game, a new opportunity to prove the M’s are legit. Here’s tonight’s gameday preview.

 

Game Details:

Seattle Mariners (5-2) — Previous 10: (5-2)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (3-5) — Previous 10: (2-5)

Time of game: 7:10 PM Pacific. Location: Seattle, Washington.

 

MATCHUPS:

Pitching:

Mariners: Roenis Elias LHP (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards RHP (1-0, 1.80 ERA).

EDGE: Even. Both Elias and Richards went five innings allowing 1 run in their first starts of the season. Both were a bit wild to start the season as well. However, Elias did have a no-hitter going into the fifth. Both pitchers are still young (25 years old), and could either prove solid or shaky at the mound tonight.

Probable Lineups:

Mariners:

Abraham Almonte 8

Brad Miller 6

Robinson Cano 4

Justin Smoak 3

Logan Morrison DH

Kyle Seager 5

Dustin Ackley 7

Michael Saunders 9

Mike Zunino 2

Of note: Facing a righty tonight, it will be curious to see if skipper Lloyd McClendon loads the lineup with lefties, or let’s Corey Hart ride out his two-home run night with another start. I expect McClendon to keep it lefty heavy because, well, what he’s been doing so far this season has worked.

 

Angels:

Kole Calhoun 9

Mike Trout 8

Albert Pujols 3

David Freese 5

Raul Ibanez 7

Howie Kendrick 4

Ian Stewart DH

Hank Conger 2

Erick Aybar 6

Of note: Trout was held to just one hit and two strikeouts in last nights 5-3 Mariners victory. And aside from the back-to-back homers by Pujols and Freese in the first off of starter James Paxton (who left in the 6th inning with a strained lat muscle), the Angels only managed 1 other hit off the Mariners bullpen. Also, Josh Hamilton injured his left thumb sliding into first base in last nights game. He is getting an MRI today and it is unclear how much time the slugger will miss.

 

Keys to Mariner Victory:

1) Patience at the plate. The M’s took advantage of the erratic pitching by the Angels to the tune of 5 walks on the evening (3 walks along for Seager). If they make Richards locate, it could be another long night for the Angels.

2) The top of the order needs to be in tip-top shape. Last night Almonte, Miller, and Cano– the top of the order– managed 0 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. All that speed and power needs to get on-base to give the Mariners an everyday chance to win. Corey Hart can’t play hero every night– or can he?

 

Other Notes:

The home opener last night was a sellout! Screaming fans welcomed the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks to the field for pre-game festivities. Russell Wilson threw the first pitch to King Felix Hernandez. And it appears the Mariners made a lifelong fan in Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who live tweeted the game and interacted with Mariners social media throughout the game. He also accepted an invitation to join the M’s for Felix’s Supreme Court on Friday night.

This city is starting to come down from its Super Bowl high. Why not stoke the fire with some successful Mariners baseball? With the dedication Seattle fans have shown this last year, it’s not hard to see them filling up Safeco for a winning ballclub.

 

Final Thoughts:

After a come from behind affair last night, look for the M’s to get out ahead early. They like facing the Angels bullpen, so they should look to drive up Richard’s pitch count with long, patient at-bats. And with a Major League game under his belt, look for Elias to start the game more settled and show why it wasn’t a fluke to put him on the 25-man roster.

Score Prediction:

Mariners 5, Angels 3.

 

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