Mariners at Angels: Series Preview

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Hisashi Iwakuma goes for the Mariners in game 1 after the All-star break. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Hisashi Iwakuma goes for the Mariners in game 1 after the All-star break. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan Jason A. Churchill
Jason joined 1090 The Fan after 4 1/2 years at ESPN Insider, covering...
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(1090 The Fan) — It’s the final 67 games of the 2014 schedule that will determine whether or not the Seattle Mariners (51-44) will end their postseason drought. The first three are in Anaheim versus the hottest team in the American League in the Los Angeles Angels, the team that certainly has their eye on the American League West crown, rather than a Wild Card spot.

The Halos sit 1.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics and as the weekend approach were expected to attempt to land a reliever with closing experience. It’s a club that can score runs with the best in baseball

Pitching Matchups | Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
Friday: Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP vs. Jered Weaver, RHP
Iwakuma has dominated the duo of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols (see below) and any pitcher that can do that has a chance to beat the Angels. Lefties have given Iwakuma problems this season, however, so keep an eye on Josh Hamilton, Erick Aybay and Kole Calhoun in this game.

Iwakuma vs. Angels
Erick Aybar: 4-13, SO
Hank Conger: 0-4
David Freese: 1-3, SO
Josh Hamilton: 2-12, 2B, HR, BB, 4 SO
Chris Ianetta: 3-12, 2B, SO
Howie Kendrick: 5-16, 3-2B, 4 SO
Albert Pujols: 2-19, 2-2B, 5 SO
Mike Trout: 3-19, BB, 6 SO

Iwakuma Splits:
LHB: .298/.305/.431, 6 HR
RHB: .189/.214/.297, 5 HR
Home: 2.81 ERA, 7 HR, .231 BAA
Road: 3.31 ERA, 4 HR, .272 BAA

Scouting Jered Weaver
Grades reflect 20-80 scouting scale; 80 is outstanding, among league’s best, 50 is major-league average, 20 is poor, not in line with big-league standards.
Four-seam Fastball (85-88 mph): 55
Two-seam Fastball (85-87): 50
Cutter (85-87): 45
Slider (78-81) : 40
Curveball (68-70): 55
Changeup (76-78) : 55
Control: 60
Command: 60

Weaver vs. Mariners
Dustin Ackley: 8-24, 2-2B, HR, 2 BB, 3 SO
Willie Bloomquist: 0-7, 4 SO
Robinson Cano: 13-36 (.361), 3B, 4 SO
Endy Chavez: 3-17, HR, 2 BB, 4 SO
Brad Miller: 0-10, 2 BB, 2 SO
Logan Morrison: 0-4, 2 BB, 2 SO
Kyle Seager: 6-21, 2-2B, 2 BB, 5 SO
Justin Smoak: 9-31 (.290), 2-2B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 5 SO
Mike Zunino: 1-8, 3B, 3 SO

Weaver Splits
LHB: .257/.313/.401, 11 HR
RHB: .172/.242/.313, 5 HR
Home: 2.67 ERA, 6 HR, .203 BAA
Away: 4.45 ERA, 10 HR, .255 BAA

Weaver has been solid this season but not ace-like and the Mariners’ lineup gets to him just enough to give themselves a chance to win, but the right-hander pitches well at Angel Stadium and will be rested for this start.

He’s yielded 11 home runs versus left-handed batters this season and both Cano and Smoak have hit him hard over the years, as has Ackley.

Saturday: Felix Hernandez, RHP vs. Garrett Richards, RHP
Hernandez has had problems with the Angels as much as any other club, but he’s bucked that trend with the Cleveland Indians this season and has fared just fine against the Halos in 2014.

Hernandez vs. Angels
Aybar: 16-74 (.216), 4-2B, 4 BB, 14 SO
Kole Calhoun: 1-10, BB, 3 SO
Conger: 1-7, 2 SO
Collin Cowgill: 0-2, 2 SO
Freese: 0-6, 3 SO
Hamilton: 11-63 (.175), 3-2B, 3B, HR, 9 BB, 21 SO
Ianetta: 2-17, HR, 4 BB, 5 SO
Kendrick: 21-73 (.288), 4-2B, HR, 2 BB, 12 SO
Pujols: 7-33 (.212), 5-2B, HR, 0 BB, 10 SO
Trout: 17-44, 2-2B, 2-3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 10 SO

Young Splits
LHB: .210/.253/.279, 2 HR
RHB: .189/.222/.281, 3 HR
Home: 2.17 ERA, 3 HR, .189 BAA
Road: 2.07 ERA, 2 HR, .213 BAA

Scouting Garrett Richards
Four-seam Fastball (95-98 mph): 70
Two-Seam Fastball (94-97): 60
Slider (85-87): 65
Curveball (78-81): 50
Changeup (86-88: 50
Control: 45
Command: 55

Richards vs. Mariners
Ackley: 3-12, 2 BB
Cano: 3-8, 2B, 3B, BB, SO
Chavez: 3-10, 2 SO
Seager: 6-16, 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO
Morrison: 0-3
Smoak: 2-16, 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO
Zunino: 1-3, 2B, SO
Miller: 2-8, 2 SO
Bloomquist: 1-4, SO

Richards Splits
LHB: .193/.267/.269, 3 HR
RHB: .201/.286/.245, HR
Home: 3.46 ERA, HR, .245 BAA
Road: 1.83 ERA, 3 HR, .156 BAA

Richards has always had terrific raw stuff but now he’s pounding the strike zone and his changeup is a weapon versus left-handed batters, who are batting just .193 off him.

Richards will sit mid-90s and touch 98 with the fastball, but he cuts the pitch and uses a two-seam version, too. His slider is the key to his strikeout rate versus right-handed batters — 53 of 137 outs recorded — and it’s a very firm pitch that is effective against lefties as well as righties.

Angels TV analyst Mark Gubicza told 1090 The Fan Friday that the key for Richards has been his ability to throw his slider for strikes this season.

Sunday: Chris Young, RHP vs. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
Young’s success versus the Angels is a small sample but the biggest red flag is the seven walks, which magnifies the need to keep the ball in the ballpark, something with which Young has trouble this season — 16 long balls in 111 1/3 innings.

Young vs. Angels
Aybar: 0-2, BB
Calhoun: 1-1, BB
Conger: 0-2, SO
C.J. Cron: 0-2
Freese: 0-2, BB
Iannetta: 0-3, 3 BB, 2 SO
Kendrick: 0-3
Pujols: 3-14, HR, BB, 3 SO
Trout: 0-3, SO

Young Splits
LHB: .225/.301/.411, 9 HR
RHB: .186/.243/.343, 7 HR
Home: 2.45 ERA, 6 HR, .188 BAA
Road: 4.04 ERA, 10 HR, .233 BAA

Scouting Tyler Skaggs
Four-seam Fastball (90-94 mph): 60
Two-seam Fastball (90-94): 60
Curveball (75-78) 40
Changeup (82-84): 55
Control: 55
Command: 50

Skaggs vs. Mariners
Ackley: 1-3
Cano: 3-4
Romero: 0-3, 2 SO
Seager: 0-3, SO
Smoak: 0-2, BB
Zunino: 0-3, 2 SO

LHB: .299/.341/.403, HR
RHB: .249/.303/.365, 6 HR
Home: 5.53 ERA, 6 HR, .310 BAA
Road: 3.69 ERA, HR, .216 BAA

Skaggs has been inconsistent this season, surrendering four or more earned runs in seven of his 15 starts but he did hold the Mariners to two earned runs over seven innings in a 5-1 loss at Safeco Field May 26.

The southpaw has has had problems versus left-handed batters, suggesting his breaking ball has not been effective and he hasn’t commanded his fastball well enough.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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