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Series Preview: Mariners (32-39) at Angels (34-38)

The Mariners head to Anaheim for the first time this season.

Kansas City Royals v. Los Angeles Angels Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Mariners steer their ship to Anaheim for the first time this season, fueled by an exhilarating, nail-biting, and desperately needed sweep of Oakland. Having had our hearts chewed up and spat back out by the Angels last weekend, the city of Seattle seeks revenge.

After taking four of five last weekend from the M’s, the Angels played the Royals at home and lost two of three to the worst team in the AL Central. Just a game and a half behind the Angels, the M’s look to gain ground in the West if they can win the series, which feels crucial as they fight their way up toward .500 and hope for an appearance in the postseason.

At a Glance

Mariners Angels
Mariners Angels
Game 1 Friday, June 24 | 6:38 pm
RHP Chris Flexen RHP Michael Lorenzen
44% 56%
Game 2 Saturday, June 25 | 7:07 pm
RHP Logan Gilbert LHP Patrick Sandoval
46% 54%
Game 3 Sunday, June 26 | 1:07 pm
LHP Marco Gonzales TBD
45% 55%
*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team Overview

Overview Angels Mariners Edge
Overview Angels Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 102 (7th in AL) 107 (5th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (OAA) 9 (5th) 5 (6th) Angels
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 98 (5th) 110 (11th) Angels
Bullpen (FIP-) 102 (9th) 104 (11th) Angels

The Angels were crashing and burning a week ago, reeling from 22 losses in 27 games. Before that they were atop the West and it looked like this might finally be the Angels year. Though trouncing the M’s stopped their slide, and Mike Trout hit a record-tying five home runs in that series, the Angels no longer look like a team that will coast into the playoffs. Both teams, then, have a lot riding on this series, both in terms of opportunities to climb up in the standings and in terms of proving that the good version of their team can be the real version.

This time around the Angels are playing with a shaken-up pitching staff, having sent Reid Detmers down to Triple-A Salt Lake yesterday to “work on some things” just over a month after he threw a no-hitter. Relievers Austin Warren and Jimmy Herget have both been placed on the 15-day IL, so the Mariners will face some bullpen arms newly brought up from Salt Lake, as well as a pitcher yet to be announced Sunday as the Angels make adjustments to their rotation.

Angels Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Taylor Ward RF R 203 0.368 180 0.1
Mike Trout CF R 262 0.333 187 -0.9
Shohei Ohtani DH L 298 0.302 131 -0.5
Jared Walsh 1B L 266 0.331 124 -1.8
Luis Rengifo 2B S 136 0.248 71 0.5
Max Stassi C R 162 0.319 98 -0.9
Matt Duffy 3B R 137 0.343 78 0.1
Brandon Marsh LF L 234 0.341 84 1.4
Andrew Velazquez SS S 203 0.240 39 1.6

Taylor Ward continues to be the Angels’ breakout start this year. Jake wrote in last week’s preview: Through May 15, he put up a ridiculous .385/.500/.747 slash line (251 wRC+) and looked like the kind of complimentary piece to the Angels’ stars they’ve been missing for so long. A series of minor injuries has limited Ward to just 14 games since that point and his ability to produce has been curtailed. While he struggled for most of the series in Seattle, Ward’s last four games have seen him head back toward his earlier levels of production, and he remains a formidable player at the top of the order.

Mike Trout continues to be hot and cold this year, but he’s tied hot streaks to Mariners series in the past, which doesn’t bode well. And of course this week we have to mention Shohei Ohtani, who set back-to-back personal records in the Royals series, following up 8 RBI one day with 13 strikeouts the next. When the top of the Angel’s lineup is healthy and producing, it’s a frightening one to face.

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

Los Angeles Angels v. Seattle Mariners Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

RHP Michael Lorenzen

65 17.6% 9.0% 8.3% 53.6% 4.15 3.93
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 21.7% 94.7 2402 123 80 108
Sinker 28.6% 94.0 2237 120 133 126
Cutter 12.9% 90.5 2471 127 48 110
Changeup 18.6% 86.3 1909 95 121 72
Slider 18.0% 83.1 2413 89 96 77

From a previous series preview:

It was impossible to predict what to expect from Michael Lorenzen in 2022. He had spent nearly his entire major league career as a reliever in Cincinnati but the Angels signed him during the offseason with the intention of using him as a starter for the first time since his rookie season back in 2015. He’s definitely surpassed all expectations across his first 10 starts of the year, posting a 3.45 ERA backed by a 3.69 FIP. His success can be traced to an improved sinker and a sweeping slider that form the backbone of his deep repertoire. Those two pitches break away from each other horizontally across the zone, giving batters fits as they try to focus on one or the other.

Lorenzen suffered through his worst start of the season during his last outing against the Mariners, the lone bright spot during that ugly five-game series last weekend. He allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out three.

LHP Patrick Sandoval

60 22.7% 10.8% 3.6% 49.1% 2.70 3.10
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 30.4% 93.0 2052 80 37 103
Sinker 10.0% 93.0 1910 95 44 159
Changeup 22.9% 84.3 1628 122 158 110
Curveball 11.0% 79.7 2799 104 135 82
Slider 25.7% 86.2 2555 113 110 117

From a previous series preview:

It’s hard to figure out Patrick Sandoval. He possesses one of the best changeups in baseball with a whiff rate topping 50%. He can manipulate the pitch to generate more vertical or horizontal movement depending on what the situation calls for but the end result is usually the same: a swinging strike. He also has a pair of pretty good breaking balls with the slider being his preferred weapon against left-handed batters. The problem is his fastball. Among all four-seam fastballs thrown at least 100 times this year, his has the fourth lowest swinging strike rate of them all. That’s a big reason why his strikeout rate has fallen three points from last year despite an arsenal filled with excellent secondary weapons.

Sandoval held the Mariners to just a single run in six innings during the first game of the doubleheader last Saturday.

LHP José Suarez

27 20.3% 13.3% 13.3% 35.7% 5.00 5.02
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 38.7% 92.7 2211 89 115 54
Sinker 9.3% 91.6 2017
Changeup 24.0% 82.4 1575 136 118 46
Curveball 27.6% 78.1 2712 77 68 91

The Angels haven’t announced a starter for the game on Sunday but it will likely be José Suarez. He made a spot start during the second game of the doubleheader last Saturday and held the Mariners scoreless through 4.1 innings. He navigated through heavy traffic, allowing seven baserunners while striking out seven. Over his past two appearances, his changeup has been a key differentiator; the whiff rate on that pitch has been 55% recently, a huge increase from its 27.2% mark earlier in the season. If he can parlay that improvement into consistent success, he could see a return of the same kind of effectiveness he enjoyed last season.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 43-26 0.623 -- L-W-W-W-L
Rangers 33-35 0.485 9.5 W-L-L-W-W
Angels 34-38 0.472 10.5 W-W-L-L-W
Mariners 32-39 0.451 12.0 L-L-W-W-W
Athletics 23-48 0.324 21.0 L-W-L-L-L

The Rangers gained back some ground on the Astros by sweeping the Phillies in two games this week. They go on to face the plummeting Nationals, while the Astros play three more against the Yankees, who beat them by a run yesterday. After being swept by the Mariners, the Athletics find themselves definitively alone in the sub-basement of the division.

SB Nation has partnered with DraftKings to sponsor select series previews this season. Here are the betting odds for this series.

DraftKings Series Odds

Series Outcome Odds
Series Outcome Odds
Mariners win +120
Angels win -155