The downward spiral and embarrassment continues for the Los Angeles Angels, as they endured another sweep over the weekend. This time against the Cleveland Indians, to make for their tenth loss in a row. They haven’t even been close most of the time, as they lost by more than a run nine times. The closest they came was a 5-4 loss to the Indians yesterday. The Angels were not expected to be a good team this season to begin with, but they’re entering embarrassing territory as they dropped ten in a row with the loss yesterday.
The Tribe say thanks to the Angels, who are a team that got a sweep at just the right moment. It looks like it’s going to take a Cleveland choke job for the Indians to give up the top spot in the American League Central. The Tigers kept pace with a big showing from Michael Fulmer yesterday, but it’s going to take an Indians’ slip-up for them to take the division.
But back to tonight, where the Seattle Mariners are in search of the postseason themselves. Recent success has them right back in the hunt for a wildcard berth. They need to keep it going, and the Mariners need Felix Hernandez to find his stride down the stretch.
Hernandez has been shaky at best, but responded with a strong start last time out. The 49-68 Angels are in his way tonight. The Angels will respond with Ricky Nolasco, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins. Nolasco has made two starts with the Angels and it’s been hit and miss. He’ll look to dethrone King Felix on Monday night at home in Anaheim.
Seattle Mariners vs. L.A. Angels
Felix Hernandez (6-4, 3.39 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-9, 5.14 ERA)
For a pitcher that has seemingly been out of his element, Hernandez still possesses a pretty nice ERA of 3.39. Hernandez opened the year up in strong fashion, before he tailed off and went to the DL for an injury. Felix came back and allowed 5 runs to the White Sox and 4 to the Pirates. However, in two of his last three starts, Hernandez looked solid against two of the best offenses in the league, the Cubs and Tigers. He dazzled the Tigers with 1 earned run and allowed only 3 hits across 7 innings. Has Hernandez found the rhythm of an elite pitcher again? I think we’ll get our answer tonight.
The Twins were just happy to dump Nolasco on somebody. They are preparing for the future, and the Angels needed a pitcher to put in the rotation, so they didn’t have to pick somebody up off the street to pitch. The Angels are trying to plug a hole up with duct tape here. It’s a temporary fix which probably isn’t going to work out so well. Nolasco enters this evening with an ERA of 5.14. His first start with the Angels was disappointing, allowing 5 runs in 6 innings, but rebounded against the Cubs for a nice outing. Nolasco is really good at looking solid one start, and looking putrid the next. I’m going to bank on that Felix is back on track and is in a groove. The Mariners certainly need him at an elite level for them to find the postseason. Seattle should add to the Angels’ misery tonight and get past the Angels on Monday.
PICK: MARINERS TO WIN -128