Back and forth we go. A quest to push above .500 is quickly followed by a quest to return to .500. After yesterday's loss, the Mariners now have to get back to mediocrity against stronger opponents, starting today with the Angels as they play without a break all week long. While the Mariners and Rangers have been toiling around .500, the Angels have started to make a hard push, winning 7 of their last 10. They're currently sitting at 28-21, closing the gap to 1.5 games behind Oakland, losers of four straight.
The Mariners will face Tyler Skaggs today, a post-hype prospect...with 22 starts at age 22. Skaggs was given away by the Diamondbacks this offseason in a controversial move, and suddenly found a bunch of hidden velocity. Skaggs is sitting 92 mph on his heater this year compared to just 89 last year, and the results have improved. He's cooled down a bit after a great start, but he still carries a 4.14 ERA/3.75 xFIP into Safeco. The velocity hasn't resulted in more strikeouts but far less, and Skaggs now only strikeouts a mere 5.98 batters per nine innings. But the control is vastly improved and the ground balls are way up (52.5%).
Nick Franklin is back in the lineup after three straight days off, which makes me wonder what the hell the Mariners are doing with him, yanking him around exactly like they did before. It's a recipe for failure. Stefen Romero continues to get a free pass in the lineup, though at least he's been moved down to #7. Romero has a .080/.179/.080 line since May 13th, yet he continues to get extensive run against left-handed pitching. At some point, maybe chill with the matchups and play the best players, Lloyd? Romero should be Tacoma bound before long unless he makes a miraculous turnaround.
- Mariners vs. Angels, 1:10 p.m. PDT
- TV: Root, MLB.tv
- Radio: 710 ESPN
- Mike Zunino is hitting 5th for the first time this year.
- Justin Smoak's OPS has fallen all the way to .690. He's the Mariners cleanup hitter.
|LOS ANGELES ANGELS||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Howie Kendrick - 2B||James Jones - CF|
|Mike Trout - CF||M. Saunders - RF|
|Albert Pujols - 1B||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|David Freese - 3B||Justin Smoak - 1B|
|Raul Ibanez - LF||Mike Zunino - C|
|Erick Aybar - SS||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|C.J. Cron - DH||Stefen Romero - DH|
|Hank Conger - C||Dustin Ackley - LF|
|Kole Calhoun - RF||Nick Franklin - SS|
|Tyler Skaggs - LHP||Chris Young - RHP|