Mariners closeout road trip with three against Angels

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners / Stephen Brashear/GettyImages

The Seattle Mariners are back under .500 at 30-31 following a sweep at the hands of the Texas Rangers and splitting a two-game series against the San Diego Padres. Coming up next is the conclusion of the team’s road trip as they face off against the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game set. 

The Angels (34-30) sit in third in the AL West and 2.5 games above the Mariners, with the first game featuring a battle of the team’s two aces. It is the second series between the two teams, with the Halos taking two of the three in early April. 

In their last series, the Angels swept the Chicago Cubs and are now on a four-game win streak. They also are a far better team at home, currently holding an 18-13 record when playing in their humble abode. Seattle, on the other hand, is 13-16 on the road and 4-6 in their last 10. 

Interestingly enough, it is just around one year after one of the most important moments from 2022, as in late June last season, the brawl between the two teams happened in the Angels home stadium. From then on, the two teams seasons went in different directions, something the Mariners hope to replicate, minus the fight.

Game 1: Luis Castillo vs. Shohei Ohtani

By far the most enticing matchup of the series, Castillo is looking to solidify his Cy Young candidacy and Ohtani is one of the best players in the league.

Through 12 starts in 2023, the Mariners ace is 4-3 with a 2.55 ERA over 70.2 innings. He is also striking out 10.4 batters per nine and walking 2.0 per nine. His WHIP of 0.976 is slightly lower than his counterparts but the righty from Anaheim is also putting up good numbers. 

Ohtani sports a 5-2 record with a 3.30 ERA over 71.0 innings. He is striking out 12.2 batters per nine and walking 3.2, but most importantly, he is giving up a league-leading 5.5 hits per nine. With the bat, he already has 16 HR and a .904 OPS, so he holds the highest value of any player in this series. 

In the first series between these two teams, these two pitchers did not face off against each other, but they both pitched and won their respective starts. In Castillo’s start, the Mariners won 11-2, and when Ohtani pitched, the Angels won 4-3. 

Game 2: Bryan Woo vs. Patrick Sandoval 

Woo got called up to take the place of the injured Marco Gonzales, but his first career start did not start the way he would have dreamed of. Playing against a top offense in the Texas Rangers, he went just 2.0 innings but gave up six runs on seven hits, striking out just four and walking one. 

Sandoval, on the other hand, has a 4.14 ERA and a 3-5 record. In his last three starts, he has gone further than five full innings just once while giving up multiple earned runs in each start. For a struggling Mariners offense, they will look to hit Sandoval early and hard to find their groove. 

For Woo, this start looks to be his “prove-it” game, where he is looking to solidify his spot on the big league roster. Another blow-up start might spell disaster and result in his demotion back into the minor leagues, but if he shuts down a divisional foe, he may gain favor with fans and management alike. 

Game 3: Bryce Miller vs. Griffin Canning  

In the final game of this set, the Mariners send out their other rookie righty coming off a bad start. Miller started off making history in each of his first five starts, starting off his career in just about the most ideal way possible.

However, in his previous two starts, things have gone quickly downhill. In those starts combined, he has pitched 7.0 innings and has given up 15 earned runs while striking out just five batters and walking two. 

The silver lining is that those two starts came from potent offenses in the Rangers and the New York Yankees, but nonetheless, something needs to be done to stop what has been an overall fall off a cliff for the Seattle pitching staff. 

The scariest part of the Angels lineup is Mike Trout, as at home and against right-handed pitcher from Seattle, he is slashing .332/.457/.653 for his career with 14 HR and 37 RBI. Ohtani himself also boasts a 1.014 OPS with 6 HR in the same conditions, so the top and middle of the Angels lineup will be difficult for the Mariners starts to navigate.