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Series Preview: Mariners (39-60) vs. Angels (50-48)

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Mariners reciprocate Angels’ invitation to come over for dinner

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

If it feels like just yesterday the Mariners played the Angels, you’re wrong but not by much. A mere four days have passed since the Angels completed their sweep of the Mariners in Anaheim. In case you’ve forgotten, the Mariners were outscored in that series 28 to 5. They were no-hit. They somehow managed to lose the final game 6-3 despite racking up nearly twice as many hits as their opponents. Dinner at the Angels’ house was terrible but the Mariners had to be polite and invite them over too.

At a Glance

Angels Mariners
Angels Mariners
Game 1 Friday, July 19 | 7:10 pm
RHP Jaime Barría RHP Mike Leake
53% 47%
Game 2 Saturday, July 20 | 6:10 pm
RHP Griffin Canning LHP Wade LeBlanc
54% 46%
Game 3 Sunday, July 21 | 1:10 pm
LHP Andrew Heaney LHP Yusei Kikuchi
56% 44%

Team Overview

Overview Angels Mariners Edge
Overview Angels Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 110 (4th in AL) 105 (7th in AL) Angels
Fielding (DRS) -3 (7th) -63 (14th) Angels
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 116 (13th) 116 (14th) Angels
Bullpen (FIP-) 101 (9th) 115 (14th) Angels

The Mariners, who have gone 1 for their last 10, have gotten slightly worse in each category besides fielding, where they continue their close race for last with the Orioles. There’s only one more floor below us in fielding, starting pitching and bullpen performance, but what we have bragging rights over is a firmly mediocre offense. The Angels, who’ve won 6 of their last 10 but are fresh off a loss to the Astros last night, continue to struggle with their pitching but their offense remains well above average and their defensive numbers have improved a bit since last time.

In terms of offense, it seems worth noting that in the many, many games the Mariners have lost to the Angels in the past eight weeks, Seattle has scored three or fewer runs in each. In each of Seattle’s wins over the Angels they have scored more than three runs. It is therefore a proven fact that the Mariners will win if they score more than three runs. This is the key to the Seattle Mariners beating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Royals Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
David Fletcher 3B R 364 0.311 111 -0.9
Mike Trout CF R 406 0.303 189 4.5
Shohei Ohtani DH L 245 0.347 138 -0.7
Justin Upton LF R 87 0.340 114 1.1
Kole Calhoun RF L 389 0.255 111 0.7
Andrelton Simmons SS R 259 0.303 96 0.2
Albert Pujols 1B R 314 0.230 96 -3.0
Kevan Smith C R 105 0.320 124 -0.5
Luis Rengifo 2B S 226 0.336 94 -0.8

I work with a woman who’s spent much of the past two months trying to sell some of her season tickets for even the tiniest bit of money. In her email begging for a buyer for Sunday’s game: “at least you might get to see Mike Trout.” Fortunately for no Mariner ever, Trout is back from his calf straight and went 1 for 4 last night against Houston, scoring a run.

Trout is always a threat, of course, but also surging of late are Shohei Ohtani, David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton. The injury to Tommy La Stella doesn’t seem to have hampered Anaheim’s offense much.

Probable Pitchers

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Jaime Barria

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
29 1/3 23.6% 5.5% 10.8% 34.1% 5.22 3.76
Pitch Type Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 30.3% 92.0 2244 88 105 81
Sinker 6.1% 91.9 2235
Changeup 16.2% 83.8 1480
Slider 46.0% 83.5 2302 82 87 62

Jaime Barria has pitched in only 7 games for the Angels this year, splitting time between the major league club and Triple-A Salt Lake. He has moved between the bullpen and the starting rotation as needed. In April he threw a 5-inning start against the Rangers in a 5-0 loss in which he gave up 4 runs, all earned, on 6 hits and 2 walks. In June he pitched 5 innings in a 5-1 victory against the Reds, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits and no walks but not earning a decision. Earlier this month he pitched a 5-inning start against the Rangers, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks and earning the win in a 6-2 victory.

The Mariners have faced Barria just once this year, back on April 21st. Barria earned the win, coming into the game after an opener and pitching 5innings in a game that ended in an 8-6 loss for the Mariners. Barria gave up just 1 run on 4 hits and no walks and struck out three in this effort. Barria has yet to pitch more than 5 innings this season, so the Mariners should get plenty of time with Anaheim’s sub-par bullpen Friday.

RHP Griffin Canning

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
66 1/3 25.3% 8.2% 15.1% 35.6% 4.75 4.89
Pitch Type Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 42.8% 94.3 2319 155 124 82
Changeup 12.7% 89.4 1655 50 109 81
Curveball 17.0% 82.3 2411 102 101 158
Slider 27.6% 89.2 2501 124 148 103

Griffin Canning was just drafted in 2017 and is already pitching at the major league level, which either says something about his success in the minor leagues or about the Angels’ need for pitching. His 5.49 ERA in 59 innings pitched last year in Salt Lake point a bit more to the latter than the former. Seattle has somehow not yet faced Canning this season, despite playing the Angels basically every other week it feels like. Canning got roughed up in his last outing, lasting only 1.1 innings before being pulled. He gave up 3 runs, all earned, on 2 hits and 6(!) walks. In the outing before that he threw only 3.1 innings, giving up 6 runs, all earned, on 7 hits and 3 walks. He had a much more solid month of June, so the Mariners could be facing Canning in a slump.

Andrew Heaney

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
46 27.3% 9.6% 15.3% 33.1% 5.09 4.78
Pitch Type Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Sinker 58.3% 92.9 2495 98 170 124
Changeup 13.3% 84.7 1987 139 108 75
Curveball 28.4% 79.7 2492 83 149 68

From a previous series preview:

In his first full season after Tommy John surgery, Andrew Heaney truly impressed, making 30 starts and compiling the seventh best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the American League. When his elbow started aching during spring training, the Angels shut him down immediately to make sure he wouldn’t be lost to another surgery. He finally returned last week and picked up right where he left off. A high-spin sinker and an excellent curveball form the foundation of his repertoire, but his changeup has shown a ton of promise. He’ll need that third pitch to remain effective against right-handed batters and to last deeper into outings. A significant platoon split and a rough “third time through the order” penalty have really hurt him in years past.

Seattle last faced Heaney back on June 7, a game the Mariners won 6-2. Heaney went 5.2 innings, giving up 5 runs, all earned, on 6 hits, 2 walks and 1 hit-by-pitch.

The Big Picture:

AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 61-37 0.622 -- W-L-L-W-W
Athletics 55-42 0.567 5.5 W-W-W-W-L
Rangers 50-46 0.521 10.0 W-L-L-L-L
Angels 50-48 0.510 11.0 W-W-W-L-L
Mariners 39-60 0.394 22.5 L-L-L-L-L

AL Wild Card

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Cleveland 55-40 0.579 +1.0 W-W-W-W-W
Athletics 55-42 0.567 -- W-W-W-W-L
Rays 56-43 0.566 -- W-W-L-L-L
Red Sox 53-44 0.546 2.0 L-W-L-W-W
Rangers 50-46 0.521 4.5 W-L-L-L-L

First and last place in the AL West continue to be fairly uninteresting, but the middle is where all the action is. The Rangers have been on a skid recently while the A’s and Angels have each been on a hot streak. If the season ended today, the A’s would have the second wild card spot, but with six years of baseball left this year any non-Mariners, non-Astros team in the AL West could have the chance to lose an extra game before heading home for the winter.

2020 Draft Order

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Orioles 29-66 0.305 -- W-L-L-L-W
Tigers 29-63 0.315 1.5 W-L-L-L-L
Royals 36-62 0.367 5.5 L-W-W-W-W
Blue Jays 36-62 0.367 5.5 L-L-W-L-L
Marlins 36-58 0.383 7.5 L-L-W-L-W
Mariners 39-60 0.394 8.0 L-L-L-L-L
White Sox 42-51 0.452 14.0 L-L-L-L-L
Reds 43-51 0.457 14.5 L-W-L-L-L
Mets 44-51 0.463 15.0 W-W-W-W-
Pirates 45-50 0.474 16.0 L-L-L-W-L

And here is where the Mariners have some real momentum - a six-game losing streak has brought us within throwing distance, even for Mariners pitching, of the bottom five (top five?). Seattle is still sitting half a game back from the Marlins, but if they keep excelling at losing, the floor’s the limit!