Previewing the LA Angels Series Against the Mariners
The LA Angels sit at 57-58, two games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot. Over the next four days, the Halos will play four games that will decide their fate this season.
The LA Angels have been sitting around .500 all year, and this is the time that they need to strike. If they sweep the Mariners, they are in firm control of their destiny going into the home stretch. Looking ahead, they have favorable matchups in almost every game.
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First off, the Angels have average 5.22 runs per game in the month of August. In the same stretch, the Mariners have averaged 4.44 runs per game. However, both offenses have been consistently inconsistent all season. The determining factor in this series will be star players and pitching matchups.
In Game 1, Tyler Skaggs will take on fellow lefty James Paxton. Skaggs will be making his second start since his return from the DL. In his first start, he allowed three runs on six hits over four innings. Skaggs showed the command of his pitches at times, especially his curveball. However, his control slipped at moments, leading to the runs.
James Paxton has been an ace since June ended, owning a 1.59 ERA in that time. In 11.2 innings pitched against the Halos this year, he has allowed just two earned runs. The only Angels to take him deep has been Albert Pujols, who did it twice.
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In the second matchup, JC Ramirez will get the call for the Angels. He was decimated in his last start, he gave up six runs on eight hits. However, he was able to go seven innings. Taking the mound for Seattle will be Marco Gonzales. In two starts this season, Gonzales owns a 12.27 ERA, giving up 10 runs and four big flies.
Ricky Nolasco will start the third game for the Halos, who has been solid against the Mariners this season. In his three starts, he has a 2.79 ERA, throwing some of his best baseball against the division rival. The Mariners will send out Erasmo Ramirez on Saturday. Ramirez is 0-1 in his two starts for the Mariners, with a 7.56 ERA in those games. He has been moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation since being dealt, and it has not worked out well for him and Seattle thus far.
In the series finale, the Angels will send out their makeshift ace Parker Bridwell. Over his past five starts, Bridwell has dominated his way to a 2.76 ERA. He’ll be looking for revenge against the Mariners, as he had his worst start of the season against them (11 hits, five runs).
The Mariners will hope to end the series on a high-note by sending out left-handed pitcher Ariel Miranda. In 23 starts this season, Miranda has a 4.65 ERA, which is good enough for a 7-5 record. His weakness has been the long ball, giving up 29 on the year.
The Angels recalled Jefry Marte to play third base this series. He’ll see action on Thursday and most likely again on Sunday. The Angels face lefties these days, and the right-handed Marte is a better option than the left-handed Luis Valbuena.
Next: Angels Win Big Series Against Baltimore, Look Ahead to WC Race
This season comes down to this series, and the Angels’ playoff hopes will be solid if they can take home a series win, or maybe even a sweep.