Time: 9:38 p.m. ET
Venue: Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA
Where to watch: ROOTNW, Bally Sports West
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Season record (entering Thursday)
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Mariners - Angels preview and analysis
Never a dull moment with the Los Angeles Angels. Just when you think you can’t expect crazier things from them anymore, just watch them lose an 11-inning classic to the Kansas City Royals one night and follow that with a 5-0 win to ensure they don’t get swept. If that doesn’t make any sense, congratulations. It’s not supposed to.
The Angels will at least get a day off before starting a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners for the second time in about a week, now switching to Angel Stadium starting Friday after taking four of five last week at T-Mobile Park. But again, at least the Angels are having reason to celebrate, and it’s all because of Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels wasted an 8-RBI day from the reigning AL MVP on Tuesday night, but they weren’t going to waste his effort on the mound. Ohtani struck out a career-high 13 batters, only walked one, in a 108-pitch masterpiece over the course of eight innings to give the Angels a 5-0 win on Wednesday night. Which thank the baseball gods, for the Angels’ sake, that Ohtani did as well as he did because the offense didn’t come until the fifth inning.
Ohtani held the Royals to just two hits all night, and he also went 1-for-3 with two walks. Those two hits? Both came in the first inning.
"I think the biggest thing was putting up that zero in the first inning after giving up those first two hits," Ohtani said through his translator. "I was able to do that, and it set the tone for the game. I wanted to go as long as I could, but I wasn't really thinking about the pitch count early in the game."
As he’s done for the majority of his time in Anaheim, Ohtani was a one-man show. It’s really a shame that nothing has formally materialized into the Angels becoming a dominant juggernaut that should be battling for playoff positioning, rather than going through this spell that included firing Joe Maddon and everything just spiraling out of control.
"He just put us on his back," Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. "I thought about taking him out going into the eighth, and he was adamant: ‘No. This is mine. I'm staying.' ... What a day. What a performance by him."
The Angels needed that performance more than anything, and now they welcome a Mariners team that, at the time of publishing, is going for the sweep against the Oakland Athletics. That might not be hard to do given how dominant Seattle has been in the first two games, winning by a combined 17-2.
In the 9-0 win on Wednesday, the bats came alive early. Julio Rodriguez got things going with a ground-rule double RBI in the first, and it snowballed from there. Jesse Winker continued his hot stretch by going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, including a two-run homer in the fifth to make it a 5-0 game. This is the kind of Mariners team everyone expected at the start of the season, but have not gotten. George Kirby pitched a great six innings and struck out six.
"A number of guys stepping up but none bigger than what we've seen out of Jesse Winker the last couple nights," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Winker, who homered for the second straight game. "He's under control at the plate. He's just trying to barrel balls up, he's not overswinging, and the ball's jumping off his bat."
Runs have the chance to come aplenty in Game 1 of this series with the pitchers available. Chris Flexen, who is 2-8 with a 4.23 ERA, will take the mound for the Mariners. For the Angels, it’ll be Michael Lorenzen, who has won six of 10 decisions but has a 4.15 ERA.
That five-game clunker has to be sitting heavily on the Mariners’ minds, and they need to at least prove a good showing in Anaheim. I think they get a good performance from Flexen, and the Mariners find a way to get things rolling in a positive direction. Mariners win 7-4
Mariners are 81-63 against division opponents the past three seasons.
Mariners are 99-91 against right-handed starters the past three seasons.
Angels are 64-80 against division opponents the past three seasons.
J.P. Crawford (L) SS
Ty France (R) 1B
Julio Rodriguez (R) CF
Jesse Winker (L) LF
Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
Taylor Trammell (L) RF
Justin Upton (R) DH
Adam Frazier (L) 2B
Cal Raleigh (S) C
SP - Chris Flexen
Taylor Ward (R) RF
Shohei Ohtani (L) P
Luis Rengifo (S) 2B
David MacKinnon (R) 1B
Max Stassi (R) C
Matt Duffy (R) 3B
Brandon Marsh (L) LF
Juan Lagares (R) CF
Andrew Velazquez (S) SS
SP - Michael Lorenzen
Batting average: Ty France -- .319
Home runs: Eugenio Suarez -- 13
RBI: Ty France -- 45
Wins: Logan Gilbert -- 7
ERA: Logan Gilbert -- 2.28
Batting average: Mike Trout -- .284
Home runs: Mike Trout -- 21
RBI: Shohei Ohtani -- 45
Wins: Shohei Ohtani -- 6
ERA: Shohei Ohtani -- 2.90
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