Seattle Mariners (49-63) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (62-52)
Pitching Probables: SEA – Felix Hernandez (10-9, 3.36 ERA) LAA – Ervin Santana (7-8, 3.32 ERA)
Game Info: 12:35 PM PT; TV - Fox Sports; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
At the risk of coming off as horribly alarmist... sound the alarm!!!!!!!!! The Angel offense is listing dangerously towards another one of those run-scoring vortexes again and doing so at the absolute worst time.
As you well know, the Halos have plated a mere two runs in their last two games. Two games does not a trend make, but it is still enough to start raising red flags, for example:
- Drawing a scant three walks in those combined two games
- Rolling into two doubleplays yesterday
- Falling victim once again to the Curse of the Unknown Pitcher (you're welcome, Blake Beavan)
And things are only going to get worse for the Angel offense since they are going to have to take on King Felix, a man they have bested a number of times, but still, facing one of the most-talented pitchers in all of baseball is far more likely to do harm than good to a sputtering lineup. Making this potential offensive slump in the making all that much worse is that they would be experiencing it against one of the real cupcakes on their schedule, thus potentially forfeiting precious opportunities to make up ground on Texas (whose bullpen keeps blowing games). Even worse, it could carry over into a road series in New York where the surging Yankees could really put a damper on the Angels' post-season hopes if they come in without any offensive punch.
Monkey See, Monkey Do - Do wonder what ridiculous lineup Mike Scioscia is planning on today. Why on God's green earth is Bobby Abreu batting fourth? He has the highest OBP on the team and the worst slugging percentage of any regular non-catcher. Putting him in a position to drive in runs instead of in a position to be the one driven in is pure idiocy, especially when you repalce him in the two-hole with someone like Erick Aybar whose OBP is barely over .300. It is like he put his roster into one of those lineup optimizer tools on the internet and then did the complete opposite. Seriously, plug the numbers into that tool. Trumbo bats fourth in ALL of the top lineups and Abreu bats fourth in several of the worst. I'm sure that tool has flaws (like not being able to account for who is "hot" or "cold"), but it is at least a good starting point which should indicate when you are making a horrible decision... like batting Abreu cleanup.
Monkey See, Monkey Don't - Don't expect another fantastic start from Ervin Santana. I make this assertion based on the strong likelihood that Jeff Mathis will get the start today since Scioscia typically doesn't have his backstops start a night game and then a day game the next day. Wilson has been behind the plate during Santana's hot streak, so the change in receiver could throw Ervin off his game. OK, that may not happen, but I am hoping it is so that Scioscia can get a little bit of evidence against Mathis going and start giving some serious consideration to not only calling up Hank Conger, but giving Hank a vast majority of the playing time at catcher with Bobby Wilson getting the rest of the work. It's nice to want things.
The Monkey's Bananas Prediction of the Game: The Angels have had horrible luck against the Mariners in series finale games. They've already lost once one Torii Hunter losing a ball in the sun and then again on Carlos Peguero driving in the winning run on a gorunder that took a crazy carom off second base. Today though, I think lady luck will return the favor with a bizarre ending to grant the Angels an unlikely victory. My best guess is that a 1-1 tie will be broken in the bottom of the eighth when, with a runner on second, a seemingly benign pop-up in the infield will be dropped when two Mariner infielders collide, allowing the runner from second to score.