At 4-1, the Mariners sit atop the Cactus League standings, right where they belong. But while there's nobody in front of the Mariners, and while there's nobody tied with the Mariners, there is one team, and one team only, that has yet to lose. That team is the Angels, who're currently 2-0. If they wanted, the Angels could argue that they're the top team in the Cactus League right now, since the Mariners have one loss, and the Angels have zero losses. It's on the Mariners to put the Angels in their place this afternoon, just as they did the 2-0 Reds on Tuesday.
Working in the Mariners' favor is that they have momentum on their side. They've won four consecutive Cactus League games against the Angels, and are gunning for a fifth. Also working in the Mariners' favor is that they're the Mariners, and the Angels are the Angels. The Mariners are in first place and have been a popular pick to advance to the World Series, while the Angels are rebuilding and have more of a long-term plan. For the Mariners, this is a trap game, the kind of game fans accuse teams of looking past in anticipation of games against stronger opponents.
Mariners and Angels at 12:05pm PST. The M's are on the road, playing in whatever ramshackle backyard ballpark the Angels call home this time of year. Here's a Gameday link, and subscribers can follow on MLB.tv or MLB.com radio. If you don't have time to follow, or if you don't want to follow, just assume that the Mariners are going to win by twelve. Here's the starting lineup that's going to generate mad runs off Jered Weaver:
Michael Saunders in right field is a different look. And he's batting ahead of two guys now! Luis Rodriguez at first base is also a different look, but clearly the Mariners don't feel like they need to throw out the entire A-squad to win. Remember August 29, 2006, when the Mariners shredded Jered Weaver for four dingers? The Mariners do. This shit's gonna be easy.
Also the Mariners are starting Blake Beavan. The Angels are sitting Albert Pujols because Mike Scioscia doesn't like the righty-righty matchup there. After Beavan, a bunch of other guys will pitch who are better than the guys the Angels have pitching. Guys like Jeff Marquez and Matt Fox. Guys like that.