LA Angels Series Preview: Mariners @ Angels (9/13/18)

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The batting helmets of Mike Trout #27 and Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sit in their cubbies for the game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium on September 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The batting helmets of Mike Trout #27 and Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sit in their cubbies for the game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium on September 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The LA Angels are coming off a successful series against the Rangers which saw them pick up two out three wins in rather dramatic fashion. The first victory took place on the back on a near combined no-hitter by the Angels, which is even more dramatic considering it was a bullpen game with Jim Johnson taking the start and going only 1.1 innings on the way to a 1-0 victory. Last night came a 8-1 victory with the Francisco Arcia and Jose Fernandez powering the Angels through the Rangers.

The Mariners are now coming through Anaheim in the middle of the LA Angels surging month of September after the Rangers received a thrashing. It’s clear the team wants to end the season on a high note and with another struggling AL West ball-club coming to visit it may very well be another big series for the Angels. With Arcia and Fernandez hitting hard alongside the typical Angel sluggers this may very well turn out to be a one-sided series.

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Wednesday, 9/13; 7:07PM: Mike Leake (9-9, 4.11 ERA) vs Odrisamer Despaigne (2-2, 6.40 ERA) 

Thursday, 9/14; 7:07PM: TBD vs Matt Shoemaker (2-0, 3.45 ERA)

Friday, 9/15; 6:07PM: TBD vs Andrew Heaney (9-9, 3.98 ERA)

Saturday, 9/16; 1:07PM: TBD vs Jaime Barria (10-9, 3.53 ERA)

On the other side of the mound is Mike Leake, whose had a very rough season to this point. While his ERA stands at a bottom level he’s been known to pitch at a rock-bottom level all season. In 171 IP he’s allowed 189 hits and in his last start against the Angels he gave up twelve hits and five earned runs in 4 innings pitched. That was back in July, his latest appearance in the month of September saw him pitch 6 innings of 7 hit, 2 run baseball. There’s clearly the potential for him to limit damage with the Angels, but there’s mostly the bigger potential for him to implode on the mound. This should be a very interesting first game of the set.

The same goes with Andrew Heaney, who has been more susceptible to the longball and the earned run than Shoemaker. Heaney can be up and down at times but when he’s up he’s hotter than anyone else on this pitching staff. His last outing saw him collect a career high twelve strikeouts in 7 innings pitched. His last outing against the Mariners saw him pitch 8 innings and allow only three runs, which is something we’ll need out of him in this start given that the Angels will be running through their bullpen in the first game of this set. Shoemaker and Heaney will hold a lot of responsibility in eating up innings so the ‘pen can rest properly through the series. The last thing we need is the bullpen pitching more than 10 innings in only two-three games of work, depending on the quality of Shoemaker and Heaney’s starts.

Jaime Barria was shelled in his last start, pitching only 3 innings while allowing four runs on 60 pitches. It’s not the most implosive start, but it’s still damning given the necessity of a long start out of the starters in this series. However, Barria was on an 11 scoreless innings pitched streak prior to the start against Texas, so there is a bit of hope to be had. Though it should be said that Barria hasn’t pitched more than 6 innings since May and the Angels may very well need exactly that depending on the status of the starts previous to him.

Next. Young Relievers Impressing in Anaheim

What to watch for 

  • Jose Fernandez is in his rookie season at the age of 30, having spent 10 years in the Minors before finally getting the call to the big leagues. The first game in this series marks the 25th game of his professional career, a game Fernandez will enter while riding a 6 game hitting streak. His last two games have seen him crush his first Major League home runs, Fernandez hitting one HR in each of his last two games. He has four RBI’s in his last 3 games and is looking to add-on to that streak/total with another huge game. The Angels will need all the runs they can get with the bullpen starting the first game and Fernandez looks to help mightily in that regard.
  • Mike Scioscia will be having a bobble-head night next weekend, the last home weekend of the Angels 2018 season. Ever since his bobble-heads were announced the chatter surrounding his potential status with the Angels as a Free Agent after this season. Mainly the chatter surrounds the possibility of him leaving as well as most people’s desires to see him go. I would expect the rumors to swirl just a bit harder this series, especially if the Angels have a rough go of it. I’d rather see Scioscia end his potential final season with all the wins, but if he happens to collect ugly losses you can expect the chatter surrounding his possible exit to heat up.
  • Shohei Ohtani. You always need to be watching Shohei Ohtani, even if he is on a ice-cold streak, a slump to end all slumps, he’s still worth the price of admission. Yesterday he came away with two hits including a double as well as a walk and a run scored in 4 plate appearances. The Angels will need all he is capable of in this series with the pitching looking to be a chaotic factor throughout these four games. It’s always fun to watch Ohtani, even if he goes hitless, but it’ll be much more fun to see him smash four homers in one game too.