Series Preview: Anaheim Angels

The Mariners (1-5) head to Anaheim to try to build on their Easter Sunday comeback win over Oakland, looking for a little revenge after the Angels swept them at Safeco Field last week.

Seattle Mariners (1-5)
vs.
Anaheim Angels (4-2)

Pitching Probables:
Tuesday, April 13th, 7:05 p.m.
Joel Pineiro (0-1, 18.00 ERA) vs. Kelvim Escobar (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

Wednesday, April 14th, 7:05 p.m.
Freddy Garcia (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Ramon Ortiz (0-1, 23.63 ERA)

Thursday, April 15th, 7:05 p.m.
Ryan Franklin (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. John Lackey (0-1, 17.18 ERA)

What to Watch For:
The Mariners will give this Angels thing another try after being swept at home to open the season. The three-game set in Seattle was a story of two entirely different offenses. The power-packed Halos bashed six homers while hitting .308 against Seattle pitching. They scored 25 runs as a result. The M's hit just .257 in the series with only one home run. They were 43-25 in 2003 when scoring more than one run in the first three innings, but just 50-57 when scoring one run or less. Getting off to a fast start offensively is important to a team not well equipped to play catch-up baseball. The lack of power in the lineup forces the M's to put together three and four-hit innings to score more than a single run. The Seattle rotation has been roughed up early in games, putting pressure on the bats to become early birds.

Anaheim will continue to hit, and hit a ton. They seem to be vulnerable is the starting rotation, as Bartolo Colon is the only proven top-of-the-rotation talent among the five starters. Getting to the starter before their vaunted bullpen is called upon can be the venom for Seattle. The problem will again be keeping the Halos off the board and inside the park, no pun intended. This series should again come down to who gets to the bullpen with a lead more often than the other. A betting man might take Seattle due to the favorable pitching matchups. But there's no betting in baseball. Oh, that's crying. Ok then. I'll take , 2-1.

Notes:
Seattle's success versus the three Angels starters in this series bodes very well for the M's to gain some sort of momentum after the 1-5 start. Game two starter Ramon Ortiz is just 5-6 in his career versus Seattle, despite a very solid 3.39 ERA in 12 starts. Second baseman Bret Boone is 13-32 (.406) with a home run, left fielder Raul Ibanez is 4-7 (.571) with two home runs, and John Olerud is 8-26 (.308) versus Ortiz. Randy Winn (4-23), and Ichiro Suzuki (9-35) have struggled somewhat against the 31-year-old. Right-hander John Lackey is not without his Mariner adversaries either. Bret Boone and DH Edgar Martinez have had their way with the 25-year-old. Boone is 8-18 (.444) and Martinez is 5-14 (.357) with a home run versus Lackey. Lackey is 2-3 with a 3.22 ERA in his young career against Seattle.

Anaheim RF Vladimir Guerrero was 2-2 with a homer and a walk versus Pineiro last week in Seattle. Ourfield mate Garret Anderson also homered off Pineiro, greatly contributing to the right-hander's inflated ERA. Ryan Franklin is 3-3 in his career versus Anaheim with a stingy 2.57 ERA. The M's will send righty Freddy Garcia out to the hill in game two after seven shutout innings last Thursday against these same Angels, lowering his career ERA versus Anaheim to 2.24.

The Unexplainable Stat:
Seattle Mariners 2B Bret Boone has a career .306 average versus Anaheim, including a .357 mark at Edison Field. The oddity is that Boone lights up Angel starters at a .380 clip while struggling mightily versus Anaheim relievers, hitting just .226. While the Halos pen of the last few years has been solid, Boone isn't just struggling against the Troy Percivals and Francisco Rodriguezs of the world. The 3-23 showing versus John Snyder, Christ Bootcheck, Kevin Gregg, Scot Shields, Rich Rodriguez, and Dennis Cook is just unexplainable.


Jason resides in Tacoma, Wash., where his father is his best friend and his nephew continues to develop the fastball-splitter combo that he hopes to have mastered by age 3. Jason enjoys the failures of the New York Yankees and despises the slider speed bat. Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com

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