The Los Angeles Angels are hoping that their recent series win against the Texas Rangers can give their team the spark they need to make a run at the Seattle Mariners. Los Angeles is 2½ games out of first place, but only a ½ game back of the Mariners. As they get ready to host Seattle in a three-game series, one look at the MLB betting line shows the Angels are -150 and the total is eight, albeit shaded to the under.
Seattle is only two games back of the Oakland A’s, despite losing four out of their last five games. After losing the first three games to Houston in their last series, the Mariners rallied behind starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi. In fairness, Kikuchi pitched seven innings allowing no runs on one hit and striking out seven batters, so Seattle only needed one run to get the win.
Los Angeles is Hitting it Big
The Angels are showing up at the top of all the major statistics. As a team, they have a .265 batting average, which is good for 2nd in the majors. They are tied with the Chicago White Sox for third in the league in hits and they tied for fourth with the New York Yankees with 32 home runs. Center fielder Mike Trout is doing his best Ted Williams impersonation, hitting .420, with 16 hits and a whopping .524 OBP.
If Trout is summoning Ted Williams, then phenom Shohei Ohtani is calling in the spirit of Babe Ruth. Ohtani became the first starting pitcher, since the Bambino, to take the mound while leading the league in home runs. The record has stood since 1921 and it fell on April 26th, when Ohtani and his seven home runs threw the first pitch against the Texas Rangers. The dual-threat Ohtani also leads his team with 18 RBIs.
Seattle Mariners’ Quest to Improve their Bats
The Mariners may feel confident as they head towards their encounter against the Angels. Especially after they ended their recent four-game losing streak against the Astros. One run may have been enough to beat the Astros, but it won’t be enough to convince the masses of their playoff chances. Their .207 batting average ranks 29th out of 30 teams and their 170 hits put them at 25th. They rank in the middle of the pack for runs scored, RBIs, and walks.
Ty France is Seattle’s third baseman and he is leading the team with a .301 average while right fielder Mitch Haniger is the Mariners current home run leader. This Seattle team has only scored 10 runs in their last five games, which left them losing four. If the Mariners want to hold off the Angels and make some noise in the AL West, they are going to need to start swinging the bats
It Always Comes Down to Pitching
The X-factor for the Mariners in Friday’s game against Los Angeles will be starting pitcher Chris Flexen. He has a 2.74 ERA, with 21 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. He carved up the Boston Red Sox just a week ago by striking out seven batters and allowing only a single run in a seven-inning effort. The 6’3” pitcher has only given up one home run on 26 hits in 23 innings pitched.
Andrew Heaney is in his eighth season and his seventh with the Angels. The hard-throwing lefty is 1-1 on the year with a 4.35 ERA. His 29 strikeouts have him in second on his team, right behind fellow starter Dylan Bundy. Heaney is 1-0 on the road, with 19 of those strikeouts coming away from home. Going back to 2019, Heaney is 2-1 against Seattle, with two no-decisions.
The Angels pitchers have been struggling, with the exception of Ohtanki. Friday’s game at T-Mobile Park might be just what the doctor ordered, as it is notoriously friendly for pitchers. Although Flexen has started to heat up recently, we expect the Angels to come out of this game, and this series with the win. The Mariners won’t hitters won’t be able to keep up with the likes of Trout and Ohtani, nor will their pitchers have the ability to outduel Heaney and Bundy (the projected game three starter). The pick is the Angels. With the sweep of the Mariners, expect the Angels to take sole possession of the second spot in the AL West. The MLB bet to make is the Los Angeles Angels to take the series at -175.