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Series Preview: Mariners (79-64) vs. Angels (67-77)

The Mariners return home after a tough road trip to face the Angels.

Cleveland Guardians v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Home is a good place to celebrate victories, but it’s also a place to reset when things aren’t going well. And going well things are not: the Mariners return to Seattle with heads hung low after a miserable 3-7 road trip. The homestand starts with three games against the Angels (today’s being the final Bark at the Park of 2023), includes a needed non-travel rest day on Thursday, and concludes with three against the Dodgers (the last games against non-division opponents as we head into the dramatic final weeks of the season). Every game matters when both the division and the wild card race are neck-and-neck, making September both awesome and deeply overwhelming.

At a Glance

Angels Mariners
Angels Mariners
Game 1 Monday, September 11 | 6:40 pm
LHP Reid Detmers RHP Logan Gilbert
37% 63%
Game 2 Tuesday, September 12 | 6:40 pm
LHP Patrick Sandoval RHP Bryan Woo
39% 61%
Game 3 Wednesday, September 13 | 1:10 pm
RHP Chase Silseth RHP Luis Castillo
33% 67%
*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team Overview

Overview Angels Mariners Edge
Overview Angels Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 103 (9th in AL) 108 (5th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (OAA) -8 (11th) 11 (4th) Mariners
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 104 (9th) 91 (3rd) Mariners
Bullpen (FIP-) 107 (13th) 90 (3rd) Mariners

After losing six straight to start September, the Angels won their weekend series against the Guardians. Though the Halos went all in at the trade deadline, they have faced slapstick levels of catastrophe in the last month. They are 11-26 since August 1, and in that stretch have been swept by the Mariners, Reds, Athletics, and Orioles. Fifteen Angels sit on the IL, including players they acquired at the deadline, two of the three players who were supposed to lead this season’s team to the playoffs, and the reigning AL Player of the Week. In the first category is first baseman CJ Cron, out with back soreness. In the second are Anthony Rendon (bone bruise) and Mike Trout (broken hamate). The third category refers to the most recently injured, Luis Rengifo; Rengifo was coming off winning the league Player of the Week award and in the middle of a multi-week hitting streak when he ruptured his biceps tendon on a swing on Thursday.

Beyond injuries and record, however, the last month has spelt disaster for the Angels looking toward future years as well. Not only does a sure playoff miss lower the team’s likelihood of re-signing Shohei Ohtani, Ohtani suffered a UCL tear and will not pitch for the remainder of the season, as well as part or all of 2024, depending on his treatment decisions. Mike Trout reportedly plans to speak with the team’s management about their direction, and there are rumblings that a Trout trade may transpire this winter. Even former players are speaking up about questionable management in the organization.

Angels Lineup

Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Nolan Schanuel 1B L 79 12.7% 17.7% 0.016 108
Shohei Ohtani DH L 599 23.9% 15.2% 0.350 178
Brandon Drury 2B R 447 25.5% 4.9% 0.217 106
Mike Moustakas 3B L 364 24.5% 6.3% 0.154 82
Logan O'Hoppe C R 130 20.8% 6.2% 0.235 98
Randal Grichuk LF R 408 20.3% 6.6% 0.189 99
Jordyn Adams RF R 21 42.9% 0.0% 0.000 -5
Brett Phillips CF L 33 45.5% 18.2% 0.111 82
Zach Neto SS R 252 21.4% 4.8% 0.170 97

After missing a week of games with oblique tightness, Shohei Ohtani may return to the Angels’ lineup as early as today. Ohtani leads baseball with a 178 wRC+ and is second in home runs with 44. With so many starters injured, the rest of the lineup is mostly filled with rookies, a few veterans playing dramatically below league average, and Brandon Drury with his 20 home runs. Promising rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe started the season strong until he was sidelined by a shoulder injury that required serious surgery. O’Hoppe has not played as well since his return last month as he did before the surgery, but he hit two home runs this weekend and hopes to have regained his rhythm.

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

Baltimore Orioles v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

LHP Reid Detmers

130 2/3 25.8% 9.5% 12.5% 35.4% 4.82 4.30
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 42.7% 94.4 88 99 81 0.386
Changeup 3.3% 85.1 91
Curveball 19.5% 74.9 92 95 135 0.263
Slider 33.4% 89.0 124 98 81 0.302

From a previous series preview:

After a brief cup of coffee in 2021, Reid Detmers had an eventful rookie season last year. He threw a no-hitter in May, was sent down to the minors in June, and finished the season strong with a 2.51 FIP across his final 13 starts after being recalled in July. Much of that late-season success can be attributed to a revamped slider that he had spent all season trying to hone. Detmers has taken a pretty big step forward this year, pushing his strikeout rate to just over 25% thanks to his slider. He’s really struggled with efficiency, pitching past the sixth inning just five times this season and averaging 5.1 innings per start.

Detmers was blown up for seven runs on nine hits in just four innings in his last outing against Seattle.

LHP Patrick Sandoval

131 2/3 19.5% 11.2% 8.4% 47.8% 4.31 4.10
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 25.3% 92.9 63 69 94 0.390
Sinker 10.6% 93.1 66 90 82 0.333
Changeup 26.3% 82.9 97 140 108 0.289
Curveball 8.9% 76.5 100 77 98 0.277
Slider 26.4% 86.9 119 81 110 0.323
Sweeper 2.4% 81.8

From a previous series preview:

Patrick Sandoval possesses two fantastic pitches in his changeup and slider. Unfortunately, his arrow-straight fastball is pretty lackluster, preventing him from finding consistent success. Last year, he tried tinkering with adding a sinker back into his repertoire but that experiment seems to have been pushed off to the side this season. His changeup and slider have also lost some of their effectiveness — the depth on both of those pitches is a bit shallower this year — and the result is a strikeout rate more than four points lower than where it was last season.

Sandoval allowed five runs in five innings in his only appearance against the Mariners this season; he allowed ten hits and struck out eight.

RHP Chase Silseth

48 1/3 25.9% 11.2% 23.7% 49.2% 4.10 4.98
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 35.1% 95.0 93 125 99 0.405
Sinker 13.8% 94.4 86 93 89 0.349
Cutter 9.3% 90.4 99
Splitter 16.4% 87.2 81 112 83 0.205
Curveball 2.1% 79.3
Slider 23.3% 82.0 100 95 80 0.316

From a previous series preview:

Chase Silseth was an 11th round pick out of Arizona in the 2021 draft where the Angels famously selected pitchers with all of their picks. He quickly made his major league debut the next year and has been an up-and-down spot starter since then. He has a deep repertoire, though no single pitch truly stands out. His fastballs rely mainly on raw velocity rather than an efficient shape and his splitter has been an inconsistent weapon for him throughout his career. His best pitch is his slider which sits in between a traditional gyro slider and a more modern sweeper. He uses that breaking pitch to put batters away, though he often has trouble getting to it since the rest of his repertoire is so hitable.

Silseth is currently on the concussion IL after getting hit in the head by an errant throw by one of his infielders. It’s possible he’ll be activated in time to make this start on Wednesday but it’s also possible the Angels will choose to run with a bullpen day if he’s not available.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 82-62 0.569 -- W-W-L-W-W
Mariners 79-64 0.552 2.5 W-W-L-L-L
Rangers 78-64 0.549 3.0 L-L-L-W-W
Angels 67-77 0.465 15.0 L-W-L-W-W
Athletics 44-99 0.308 37.5 L-W-W-L-L

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Tampa Bay 88-56 0.611 +8.5 W-L-W-W-W
Blue Jays 80-63 0.559 +1.0 W-L-W-W-W
Mariners 79-64 0.552 -- W-W-L-L-L
Rangers 78-64 0.549 0.5 L-L-L-W-W
Red Sox 73-70 0.510 6.0 L-L-L-L-W

Unfortunately, the teams around the Mariners in the division and Wild Card races did Seattle no favors this weekend. The Astros took two of three from the Padres to take a 2.5-game lead in the West. The Rangers took two of three from the Athletics to hang just a half game back of the M’s. Houston hosts the A’s for three to start this week, while the Rangers play four in Toronto. Given that Toronto is a game up of Seattle in the Wild Card race and Texas is just out of the third spot, that series will have direct repercussions for the standings. The Blue Jays regained that second Wild Card and pulled a game ahead of the M’s by sweeping the Royals over the weekend. Mariners fans could root for Toronto and Texas to split their series, or could root for Texas since the Mariners have head-to-head opportunities to gain ground on them in the last weeks of the regular season.