Fresh off back-to-back series victories to start the 2019 season, the Mariners will now play host to the reviled Los Angeles Angels. With the opponent in mind, and also considering that Félix Hernández will be making his first start of 2019, it’s very easy to see this game swinging drastically to either end of the “fun” pendulum.
The good news: while the Mariners’ 2019 wRC+ of 172 (!) probably won’t last for the entire season, it might actually last through tonight’s game. The Mariners will be facing the Angels’ fifth starter, Chris Stratton. The Angels acquired the 2012 first round pick from the Giants exactly one week ago for relative peanuts. Stratton, as Jake elegantly previewed earlier today, was unimpressive in 2018, and was not projected to make the Giants’ rotation.
So who will get the first chances to feast on Stratton tonight?
|Kole Calhoun - RF||Mallex Smith - CF|
|Mike Trout - CF||Mitch Haniger - RF|
|Justin Bour - 1B||Domingo Santana - LF|
|Andrelton Simmons - SS||Jay Bruce - 1B|
|Albert Pujols - DH||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Tommy La Stella - 2B||Omar Narvaez - C|
|Jonathan Lucroy - C||Tim Beckham - SS|
|Brian Goodwin - LF||Ryon Healy - 3B|
|David Fletcher - 3B||Dee Gordon - 2B|
Before the season, this lineup looked fine. After the first six games of the season, this lineup inspires a bizarrely high level of confidence. What other teams have the first 2019 AL Player of the Week batting seventh? Spoiler: it’s no other teams.
Of course, on the other side of the coin, we have Félix. Félix, finally in what seems like a make-or-break season (and maybe even a make-or-break half-season), did not look good in his last exhibition outing against the Yomiuri Giants. If you’ve squinted hard enough before each of the last couple seasons, there have been reasons to believe Félix might turn his decline around, a la Justin Verlander. Now? You’d have to be a world-record squinter.
Baseball is chaos, and it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that Félix might make Mike Trout look silly, just for one game, even though Trout has a .373 lifetime average against Félix, and much of that came before the latter’s decline. And hey, even if this doesn’t go so well, Chris Stratton is really not good, and the Mariners have a 172 (!) wRC+.
Game time: 7:10 PM PST
TV: Root Sports NW
Radio: 710 AM ESPN Seattle