Jun 8, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15), shortstop Brad Miller (5), second baseman Robinson Cano (22) and first baseman Justin Smoak (17) wait during a pitching change against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Seattle Mariners defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Series Preview: at Los Angeles Angels

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Back to baseball!

The All-Star break was great and all, but I’m about ready to get back on the Mariner train. Things have been going well for the Mariners and it would be nice to see them keep the momentum going into the second half of the season. It’s been a long time since the Mariners were in any kind of playoff race, so things are bound to get exciting as the summer winds down a bit.

The Mariners are down in LA taking on the Angels, who are just ahead of them in the standings right now, so these will be some important games. Here’s your Mariners series preview for this weekend’s matchup against the Los Angeles Angels.

Matchups

Game one: Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 2.98 ERA) v. Jered Weaver (10-6, 3.45 ERA)

Iwakuma is so hot right now. He’s won all three of his July starts and is in search of his fourth straight tonight. His last start was a gem, where he went 8.2 innings for the win against Oakland. He’s definitely in for a challenge this weekend as he faces Jered Weaver. Weaver had a bit of a back strain a few starts ago against Toronto, where he was pulled after only 2 innings. However, he went 7 deep last week against the Rangers and looks to be fine. Any lingering injury probably appreciated the extended time off for the All-Star Break.

Game two: Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12 ERA) v. Garrett Richards (11-2, 2.55 ERA)

Fresh off of his All-Star start, Felix gets the nod again on Saturday. Felix is showing some serious stuff this season, and the Fox guys couldn’t say enough nice things about him during his inning of work in the ASG. They seem to think (along with the rest of us), that Felix is now a leading candidate for a Cy Young, if he can keep the train rolling. One inning was a little less than we all hoped, but he still put on a show. MLB notes that Felix just posted his best first half ever. Garrett Richards gets the nod against Felix, and his numbers are nearly as impressive. Richards hasn’t taken a loss since May 30th, and is in search of his 8th straight. He’s gone 7+ innings in all but two starts this season.

Game three: Chris Young (8-6, 3.15 ERA) v. Tyler Skaggs (5-5, 4.50 ERA)

With Kuma and the King being hot lately, Chris Young has fallen off a bit, losing his last two starts to the Twins and A’s. That said, he definitely didn’t get very much run support over those starts, (only 1). Young has already beaten the Angels once this season back on May 26th at home. This will be a good matchup for Young though, as Skaggs is having some troubles of his own after missing most of June. Skaggs gives up a lot of hits (94 on the season), so the Mariners need to capitalize on any mistakes he makes.

Mariners Notes

  • James Paxton is in Everett making a rehab start! Things are looking up for the rotation, even among rumors of David Price and more being on their way to Seattle.
  • While the Mariners sent four to the All-Star Game, they weren’t particularly good at the plate. Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano certainly have better stuff than they showed. But Felix and Fernando Rodney each looked good, and the rest of the MLB was treated to the Fernando Rodney Experience.
  • As I already said, MLB analysts are singing Felix’s Cy Young praises now that Masahiro Tanaka is out for at least 6 weeks.
  • Stefen Romero has been called back up to the big club, and Lucas Luetge has been optioned down. Presumably we’re going to see Romero frequently, now that Michael Saunders is on the 15-day DL with that oblique injury sustained before the All-Star Break.

Around the AL West

This is yet another important series for the Mariners, who need to gain some ground on the Angels in the West. The M’s are 6.5 back of the Angels, but also only 2.5 up on the Royals and Blue Jays for that second Wild Card spot. If there’s any series that would be key, this is it.

  • The Oakland A’s are hosting the AL leading Baltimore Orioles at home this weekend, meaning they are in for a fight. This is good news for the two teams battling to keep up (Seattle and LA).
  • LA is facing the Mariners.
  • The Astros are in Chicago this weekend to take on the White Sox. The Astros are 11.5 games back of the Mariners, and nearly 20 back of the first place A’s.
  • The basement-dwelling Rangers are north of the border this weekend to take on the Blue Jays. The Jays are trying to get back on stride after lighting up June, while the Rangers surely don’t like being the worst team in baseball.

 

Team Games Back
Oakland A’s -
LA Angels 1.5
Seattle Mariners 8.0
Houston Astros 19.5
Texas Rangers 21.0
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