Game 135, Angels at Mariners
Taijuan Walker vs. Tyler Skaggs, 6:10pm
Tyler Skaggs is making his 8th start since coming off the DL following TJ rehab, but it’s already his 3rd against the Mariners. After two brilliant games out of the gate, he’s been inconsistent and wild in the 5 games since. That’s probably to be expected, and realistically, the Angels just want to see what they have for 2017. Still, they’d be a bit more confident about next year if he can recapture the form he had in his last start against the Tigers. Against Seattle this year, he’s gone 8 2/3 IP and given up 8 runs on *15* hits and 5 walks. That hit total – and his BABIP – suggest he’s been unlucky (his FIP’s not bad), but it seems like it could also be a product of his still-wonky command. He’s walked too many, but I doubt he’s had pinpoint command within the strike zone, and the result seems to be a lot of squared-up pitches.
It’s been a while since we mentioned it, but I suppose due diligence demands it: the M’s playoff odds are below 6% now, which honestly feels a bit high. Detroit’s been the hottest team among the wild card hopefuls, and they’ve crawled back from that dispiriting sweep at the hands of the M’s to pull into a tie with Baltimore for the 2nd wildcard. The Astros have been red hot except for the fact that they simply can’t beat the Rangers – with Texas’ win today, the Astros fall to 2-13 against their intra-state, intra-divisional rivals.
Ben Gamel makes his second straight start in the OF and the leadoff spot. Yes, Norichika Aoki’s eligible to rejoin the M’s what with expanded rosters and all, but I can’t blame the M’s for giving more of a look to Gamel. The M’s don’t have a lot of right-handed hitting depth in the OF at the moment, but it’s good to see Gamel get the start today against a lefty in Skaggs.
Mike Zunino responded to my (ok, and everyone else’s) posts about how well he’s doing by entering his first real slump of 2016 (uh, in the majors – he actually had one in Tacoma). This’ll be interesting, as it seemed like his frustration built upon itself and made his 2015 a nightmare. I’d bet keeping tabs on Zunino’s a very, very high priority for Edgar Martinez at the moment.
1: Gamel, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lee, 1B
7: Zunino, C
8: Martin, CF
9: Marte, SS
SP: Taijuan Walker
The first M’s affiliate to actually start a post-season series is also the first to come up with a league championship. Congratulations to the Arizona League M’s, who beat the Angels for the AZL crown. The rookie-league team got great pitching from Dylan Thompson and Carlos Hernandez, and 1B Ryan Uhl (who played in Everett last year, and missed most of 2016 due to injury) provided the offense with a 2R HR.
Luiz Gohara’s starting for Clinton tonight, and Ryan Yarbrough makes his first start since coming off the DL for Jackson. The Rainiers have a now-meaningless series against Reno, but that at least gives them the opportunity to check in on old friend Vicente Campos. Campos starred for Everett back in 2011, before being traded to New York in the Pineda/Montero deal. After many injuries, he’s now in the Arizona system, and had a cup of coffee with the DBacks earlier. There are a couple of current Rainiers who played with Campos in Everett: C Marcus Littlewood and RP Andrew Kittredge.
LJay Newsome and Eddie Campbell round out the probables in the M’s system.