Thursday, April 10, 2008

Series Preview: M's vs. Angels 4/11-4/13

The Los Angeles Angels roll into town as Seattle's primary competition for the AL West crown in the first of many important battles.

Probable Starters:
4/11 - Felix Hernandez vs. Jered Weaver
4/12 - Carlos Silva vs. Jon Garland
4/13 - Erik Bedard vs. Joe Saunders

Jon's Keys to the Series:

Keep up the good starts: Seattle's starting rotation as a whole has been doing very well this season. This is going to have to keep up as the Angels have a very potent lineup featuring the likes of Chone Figgins, Torii Hunter, Casey Kotchman and Mariner killers Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson. If the Mariner starters put up anything but their best efforts this lineup could really make them pay.

Take advantage of absent aces: Seattle has their two best pitchers throwing in this series while the Angels have their two best pitchers on the disabled list. Jered Weaver is the best pitcher that the Angels are throwing out there, so Seattle should definitely take advantage of Jon Garland and Joe Saunders. Garland and Saunders have had some very good starts already this season and Saunders hasn't given up a run, but both appear to be pitching above their capabilities. Seattle needs to take advantage of Los Angeles' missing aces and expose their starters for what they are.

No free passes: Walks are never a good thing to give out, especially to this lineup. Seattle pitchers cannot afford to walk guys like Figgins and Gary Matthews at the top of the lineup or their guys in the bottom third. If these guys are let on for free the big boppers in the middle of the order will undoubtedly make Seattle's pitchers pay. A solo home run hurts a lot less than one of the three run variety, so it's important to make these guys earn their way onto the basepaths.

Time for Wilkerson to wake up: Brad Wilkerson has been struggling mightily since joining the Mariners, but he could use this series to help get his season started. Wilkerson smashed six homers against the Halos last season, his most against any single franchise. He has especially done well against Garland and Saunders over the course of his career.

These games are important: Yes, it's only April, but these games count just as much as the ones in September. It's important to get off to a good start against the Angels as they're likely going to be Seattle's top competitor in the AL West this season. I think the AL West race could realistically come down to who wins the season series between these two teams.

This is going to be an exciting series and I can't wait to see how Felix does in his third start. Last year he hurt himself on his third start and it threw off his season, hopefully he can get through this one without a hitch and continue dominating. Go M's!

1 comment:

Quinn said...

This series could very well set the tone for the year.

I hope Wilk wakes up this series. If there ever were a series to, I hope he'd pick this one.

:/ I think our best strategy is to walk Vlad and Garret every single friggin time they come to the plate. We have no regrets then.