Series Preview: Angels Play Four Games In Three Days Against Mariners
MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

For the third series in a row, the Los Angeles Angels face off against a divisional opponent. And after disappointing series losses to the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics at home, they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face the potentially playoff-bound Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners were the darlings of baseball in 2021, stunning fans and baseball personnel alike by winning 90 games despite a negative run differential. Knowing that formula may be unsustainable, Seattle went out and loaded up their roster for 2022 in the hopes of making a legitimate run.

So far, the results have been strong, as the Mariners are second in the AL West and hold the second American League Wild Card spot. They even added the best starter on the market — Luis Castillo — at the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, the Angels have stumbled their way to the bottom of the standings, now holding the fourth-worst record in the AL. They are 5-8 since the All-Star Break, which is actually a marked improvement from the stretch of games prior to the break.

They sold at the deadline, stocking up on intriguing prospects, one of whom — Tucker Davidson — will be making his Angels debut on the mound in this series. Including a Saturday doubleheader, they’ll have a chance to steal some wins against a strong divisional opponent on the road.

Game 1: Friday, Aug. 5, 7:10 p.m. PT

For the series opener, the Mariners will have their blockbuster acquisition from the offseason on the mound in 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. Ray has not been able to replicate the results of his award-winning season, but has still been solid as the Mariners front man.

Through 21 starts and 122.2 innings, Ray holds a 4.11 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, and 139 strikeouts compared to 42 walks. By no means is this a bad season, but it shows just how dominant he was in 2021.

The Angels have a quality starter of their own on Friday night in Patrick Sandoval. Sandoval bounced back well against the Rangers last weekend after two difficult starts on either side of the All-Star Break. He’d like to capitalize on this with a strong outing against the Mariners.

With the doubleheader on Saturday, getting a win in the opener becomes that much more important, as bullpen availability and fatigue could quickly become a factor.

Game 2: Saturday, Aug. 6, 1:10 p.m. PT

Originally, Touki Toussaint was the slated starter for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. However, he came in for a long relief outing on Thursday against the Athletics after Janson Junk allowed six runs in 2.1 innings.

For now, both Saturday starters are TBD. But on the Mariners side, it will be Chris Flexen taking the mound in the afternoon game. Flexen has been nothing if not consistent for Seattle since signing as a free agent ahead of the 2021 season.

And for his career, Flexen has fared well against the Angels, posting a 2.67 ERA over 33.2 career innings.

Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 6, 7:10 p.m. PT

The Angels have yet to figure out who will be the starter on Saturday night after Toussaint’s unexpected relief outing. It’s likely that Reid Detmers gets the nod, but he could be bumped up to the afternoon outing as well.

For the Mariners, it’s rookie George Kirby, who has been a pleasant surprise in his 73.1 innings. A 3.56 ERA and 1.186 WHIP — leading to an above-average 106 ERA+ — is just another feather in the cap of this Mariners team. If Detmers does make this start, it could be a matchup of the future for L.A. and Seattle.

Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 7, 1:10 p.m. PT

Davidson is scheduled to make his Angels debut in the series finale against the Mariners, pending the shift in starters for Saturday. It figures to be his fourth start — and fifth appearance — of the 2022 season.

And although Davidson has struggled in his first 15.1 innings this year, the Angels are hopeful that a fresh start — and increased opportunity — will have the same effect for both him and Mickey Moniak. Moniak has already hit his first home run as an Angel.

For the Mariners, it’s another steady, 100-plus-inning arm in Marco Gonzales. Gonzales has struggled with contact this season, allowing a 1.386 WHIP and just a 4.9 K-per-nine. However, he has limited damage well, even if advanced metrics show him to be among the luckier pitchers in baseball this season.

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