Los Angeles Angels Anaheim (31-36) @ Seattle Mariners (34-32)
Pitching Probables: LAA – Dan Haren (5-4, 2.41 ERA) SEA – Jason Vargas (4-3, 3.94 ERA)
Game Info: 7:10 PM PT; TV - KCOP; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
The Angels have been playing some real bad ball as of late, yet all it would take to get them back to where they were in April is a strong series against a vastly weaker opponent. The Mariners are nice and toasty right now while the Angels have been ice cold for a while. Last time we rolled up in Seattle the Angels were in a similar situation, only to have the Mariners continue to put the hurt on the Angels season. That only makes this the perfect series to get the season back on track.
Remember that early season road trip last year when the Angels lost 9 games in a row and everyone was beginning to call the season quits? The Angels broke their bad luck with a road trip to Seattle and after that series they were back to playing mediocre baseball. By the All-Star break they were back to 3 GB behind Texas in the AL West and found a way to keep it competitive for the majority of the season. It isn't unrealistic to expect the same to happen now, seeing as how this is a vastly superior team to the one we had early last year. They may not be playing like they are, but they have the potential to be great waiting to be tapped.
Monkey See Monkey Do: Do expect to see more offensive mishaps by the Angels, and do expect it to be all Mickey Hatcher's fault. He's been given more then enough time to straighten this offense out, yet he continues to push a broken philosophy on the Angels. We've all seen Hatcher destroy hitters with his cracked out theories, remember the whole Aybar fiasco last year? That's a huge knock against Hatcher, seeing how far Aybar has gotten after throwing his "coaching" to the wayside. Now Aybar is one of the better producers on this team, and probably the only guy I would trust at the plate in a huge situational spot. I hope that Scioscia continues the trend of getting rid of the dead weight that has been plaguing this team since the beginning of the season. Kazmir's gone, Jepsen's gone (albeit temporarily)
, Wood's gone, all that remain standing between the Angels and a successful season is Mickey Hatcher, him and Jeff Mathis.
Monkey See Monkey Don't: Don't expect Vargas to let the Angels tear him up in his own town. That being said, do expect the Angels to do everything in their power to throw away as many perfect scoring opportunities as possible. It'll be bad, but it won't be anywhere near as bad as yesterdays game was. I didn't watch the game, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out half of those GIDP's came off of Hunters bat. One has to wonder how horrible this offense has to get before Arte and Scioscia smarten up and give Hatcher the boot. At this point in the season I'd rather see the Angels lose a few more series if it'll get Hatcher off the staff. An uphill battle for the rest of the season is a lot better then having to watch the Angels toil away in the bottom half of the AL West.
The Monkey's Bananas Prediction of the Game: Two home runs for Vernon Wells, both with 2 outs, both with RISP. An Angel getting a hit with RISP is crazy. That Angel being Vernon Wells is even crazier. Those hits being home runs of the bat of Vernon Wells is downright bananas.