As the Los Angeles Angels begin to evaluate their roster ahead of what could be a turning point of an offseason, they can use their series against the Seattle Mariners as a potential springboard for winning baseball in 2023.
Not only did the Angels take three of four from a playoff team, but they got the exact number of wins they needed to secure the season series. The Halos took 10 of their 19 games against the Mariners, despite their usual struggles within the division.
They won in a multitude of ways, as well. If they needed to score eight runs to win, they were able to do it. If they needed to hold the Mariners under two runs, they managed that as well. And outside of an ugly finale, the Angels had relatively complete control over the Mariners.
Below, we’ll break down each game, as well as some of the elite performances that allowed the Angels to steal a series against a divisional opponent with far more to play for at this stage of the season.
Game 1: Angels def. Mariners 8-7
The Angels got to Robbie Ray early in the series opener. After Michael Lorenzen gave up a home run in the first inning, the Angels got on the board with the next four runs. They started in the bottom of the first, when Taylor Ward scored two runs with an RBI single.
Two innings later, Luis Rengifo homered — his first of many in this series — and Matt Duffy got Ward home with a single to make it 4-1. The Mariners closed the gap to 4-3 with a Carlos Santana home run, but Mike Trout gave the Halos some breathing room with a solo homer in the fifth frame off of Ray.
The sixth inning saw both bullpens take over and immediately give up runs. The Angels brought out Aaron Loup, who allowed two singles and a walk, scoring a run and making it 5-4 Angels. But it was Mariners’ reliever Matthew Festa who had the big mistake.
After walking Matt Thaiss and giving up a single to Michael Stefanic, Rengifo took to the plate with a home run already under his belt. Rengifo then took a center-cut 0-1 fastball 429 feet for his first multi-home run game in the Majors to give the Angels an 8-4 lead.
Although the Mariners would score three more runs, the bullpen did just enough to keep them at bay, with Tepera securing the save in an 8-7 victory.
Game 2: Angels def. Mariners 2-1
Shohei Ohtani taking the mound for the Angels meant the second game would likely be pitcher-oriented, considering the elite season Ohtani is having on the mound. But it was his bat that made the first big impact, as he hit a first-inning double to score Mike Trout and put the Halos on the board first.
And Ohtani ensured that the 1-0 lead would be one the Angels held on to the rest of the way. In total, Ohtani tossed 7.0 innings without giving up a run. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out eight Mariners batters.
The Angels would get some insurance in the fourth inning when Duffy grabbed his second RBI of the series. And while Taylor Trammell would hit a home run off of Jaime Barria in the eighth inning, the Angels got the 2-2 victory behind Ohtani and a save from Aaron Loup.
Game 3: Angels def. Mariners 5-1
The heroes of this game were Rengifo, once again, and a player making his first MLB start in shortstop Livan Soto. Rengifo kicked off the scoring immediately with a lead-off home run in the bottom of the first, giving Reid Detmers some breathing room as he embarked on a solid start.
The Mariners would tie the game in the second inning, though, as Detmers allowed a run on three hits in that frame alone. His complete start lasted 6.0 frames, giving up the one run on just four hits and two walks.
In the third inning, Soto got his first MLB hit in just his second career at-bat. Rengifo, batting next in the order, clubbed his second home run of the game, and fourth of the series, giving the Angels a 3-1 lead.
The pitchers would hold strong from there until the seventh, when Soto took to the plate with Mike Ford on base. Soto took the first pitch he saw from Marco Gonzales over the wall in right field for his first MLB home run. It made the score 5-1, the eventual final tally.
Game 4: Mariners def. Angels 9-1
In a normal weekend series, the Angels would have secured a sweep. But the fourth game on Monday belonged entirely to the Mariners. It was a difficult outing for Jose Suarez, who allowed five runs on seven hits and a walk in 5.0 innings of work.
The grand slam he gave up to Santana in the fifth inning was the nail in the coffin for the Angels, who had eight hits but went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Now, the Angels shift their attention to a different divisional opponent in the Texas Rangers. Despite the Rangers and Angels having similar records, the Halos are 5-8 against Texas this season.