Game 8, Angels at Mariners
Roenis Elias vs. Garrett Richards, 7:10pm
After spending much of yesterday’s game thread burying Albert Pujols and praising James Paxton, Pujols homered and Paxton’s lat strain sent him to the DL. We around here tend to frown on sloppy correlating, but I promise not to reference Pujols’ contract at all today.
The M’s improved to 5-2 yesterday, but the story of the game probably has to be the two big injuries. James Paxton’s “tweak” of his latissimus dorsi will hold him out for a few starts, while Josh Hamilton’s thumb injury will require surgery, costing the OF about two months. It’s very, very early in the season, but I’m not sure this could’ve gone any worse for the Halos. With several injuries to the Texas and Seattle rotations, the Angels had the opportunity to grab an early lead in a wide-open division. Instead, they’re 0-4 against the M’s, their bullpen’s struggled and they’re about to lose Hamilton for a good chunk of the season. To be fair, their slow start hasn’t impacted their playoff chances much at this point, but injuries and instability in the bullpen will make it tough for the Angels to dig out of this hole. It’s just a couple of games, but while we expected the gap between the Angels/Rangers and the M’s to have narrowed, I didn’t expect BOTH teams to look so flawed. Small Sample Schadenfreude.
Roenis Elias was solid in his first outing despite some questionable work behind the plate from Sean Barber. Today’s a different kind of test. The Angels’ extreme right-handed line-up looks to be a tougher match-up for a lefty like Elias with a lower arm angle. He didn’t pay for it against Cespedes/Donaldson/Crisp, and it’s not like replacing Josh Hamilton with JB Shuck makes the Angels a *better* offensive ball club, but I’m curious how he deals with Trout, Pujols, Kendrick, etc.
Garrett Richards is the hard-throwing righty who’d been terrible in college and the majors and only OK in the minors. He may have figured something out last year, as he was a pretty effective fill-in once Joe Blanton went supernova. I feel like I’ve written more about Richards than any other opposing player, which is odd and a little bit depressing.
1: Almonte, CF
2: Miller, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Hart, DH
6: Seager, 3B
7: Morrison, RF
8: Ackley, LF
9: Zunino, C
SP: Roenis Elias
It’s too early to complain about PT, given that there’s been so little PT to go around, but when the time is right, Michael Saunders will ask some tough questions of his manager.
Lucas Luetge’s been recalled from Tacoma to take Paxton’s spot.
Edwin Diaz starts tonight for Clinton. Jimmy Gilheeney starts for Tacoma, who look set to actually get the game in today. The big story is Taijuan Walker making what’s looking like his final rehab start tonight for AA Jackson. He’ll go 85 pitches, and could be up soon. Iwakuma threw a bullpen and hasn’t complained of shooting pain, so he’ll probably head out for a rehab start or two in the next week.