The Los Angeles Angels have just 13 games before the trade deadline. In that time they’ll need to play well enough to avoid becoming sellers and pushing their playoff hopes to 2022, and they start that all-important journey against the Seattle Mariners.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Angels had a chance to capitalize on a string of good outings against the Mariners, but failed to do so. They went 1-2 in that series, putting them just one game over .500 at the break. They’ll need to play much better this time around if they want to have a chance.
Luckily, this series will be at Angel Stadium, where they have been significantly better this season. At home, the Halos are 26-20, while sitting at just 19-24 on the road. The same can be said for the Mariners, who are 29-20 at home but just 19-23 on the road. This gives the Angels a big advantage right off the bat.
However, the Angels will have to get past the Mariners’ two best pitchers in Chris Flexen and Yusei Kikuchi. It’s those two players that have shouldered the load of the Mariners pitching staff this season, and they’ll try to continue that trend against a potent Angels lineup.
A big story of this series — beyond the Angels needing to win — is the ongoing hitting streak of David Fletcher. He took a 24-game hit streak into the All-Star break, the eighth person to bring a streak of that length or greater into the break. Of the previous seven, three lost their streak on the first night.
The Angels are also hoping to get healthy at some point during this season. Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout, and Justin Upton all currently sit on the injured list, but there’s reason for hope with all three. The most recent injury updates from the Angels suggested that Rendon could be back as soon as the series opener.
Meanwhile, Trout and Upton plan to complete rehab assignments, which could postpone their returns by a few days, likely keeping them out of the series altogether.
Having Rendon back would be huge, as he’s hoping to redefine his 2021 season in the second half. Between three IL stints, Rendon struggled mightily in the first half. However, he’s hoping he can put the frustration of that behind him to help the Angels win now.
As was discussed the last time these two teams played — just before the All-Star break — the Angels are statistically a much better team than the Mariners. While their pitching struggles are well documented, the Mariners are below average in nearly every offensive and defensive statistic, while the Angels have an elite offense, at the very least.
At some point, the Mariners’ record will start to reflect the numbers they put up on a nightly basis. The Angels need to be the team that starts that process, as a good opening series would be huge for a team desperately trying to sneak their way into the Wild Card Game.
Angels (45-44) vs. Mariners (48-43)
Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California
Game 1: Friday, July 16, 6:38 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West
Game 2: Saturday, July 17, 6:07 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West
Game 3: Sunday, July 18, 1:07 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West, ESPN+
Probable Pitching Matchups:
Andrew Heaney (5-6, 5.38 ERA) vs. Chris Flexen (8-3, 3.51 ERA)
Alex Cobb (6-3, 4.23 ERA) vs. Yusei Kikuchi (6-4, 3.48 ERA)
Patrick Sandoval (2-3, 3.70 ERA) vs. Logan Gilbert (3-2, 3.51 ERA)