The wins just keep on coming so far in July! We picked up another one of my favorite types of wins yesterday, a money line underdog win. We back the Seattle Mariners as road underdogs against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. I liked Mariner’s starter Marco Gonzalez in this one as he had faced the Angels three times this year already and had run up a 3-0 record against them. Well, its 4-0 now as Gonzalez pitched a gem last night.
Gonzalez pitched seven shutout innings and allowed no runs on just two hits. The game was a tight one as expected. The Mariners have prided themselves on winning close games this year and got the job done again last night with the closer than the score may show 3-0 win. With the win, the Mariners move to a season-high, twenty-three games over .500 and pull within three games of the first place Houston Astros for the American League West Division title. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Los Angeles and look at game three of this series between the Mariners and the Angels.
The Seattle Mariners are in Los Angeles Thursday for game three of a three-game series with the Angels. The series is tied at one game apiece as the Angels took game one and the Mariners tied up the series last night in game two. Tonight’s matchup features a very strong starting pitching matchup as both starters are pitching very well this year.
Starting for the Mariners is All-Star James Paxton (8-3 3.49 ERA), and for the Angels it is Tyler Skaggs (6-5 2.64 ERA). The Angels are small home favorites at -106. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM PST from Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
We all wondered what James Paxton would be able to do if he ever managed to stay healthy for a full season. Well, we are seeing glimpses of that this season as Paxton has mostly remained unscathed after spending much of his career banged up. Paxton was just named to his first All-Star team and is enjoying his best season yet at the major league level.
Paxton made history earlier in the season when he pitched his first career no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays. Paxton’s 154 punchouts are fifth in the American League, and the Mariners just seem to win a lot this year when he pitches. The M’s are 12-7 in games started by Paxton this year. Likely the biggest thing that Paxton has contributed to this team this year has been his ability to eat up a bunch of innings.
Nine times this year Paxton has pitched at least seven innings, and that includes two complete games. Paxton, affectionately known in Seattle as the “Big Maple” is conjuring up memories of the “Big Unit” Randy Johnson, who used to regularly go deep in games for Seattle. It will be interesting to see if Paxton can stay healthy the rest of the way out this season. If he does, the M’s seem to be in very good shape to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
While James Paxton was just named to his first All-Star team, Tyler Skaggs was one of the more noticeable snubs. Skaggs is having a breakout year for Los Angeles as his 2.64 ERA is amongst the league leaders in the AL. Skaggs hit the disabled list in late June, and that likely kept him from making the team, but make no mistake, this guy has been really good this season. The problem for Skaggs is very similar to the one for last night’s starter Jamie Barria, despite his great pitching results, the Angels just can’t seem to convert his starts into wins nearly as much as they should.
The Angels are 6-7 in his last thirteen starts. In his lone start against the Mariners this season, Skaggs pitched pretty well, five and a third innings and gave up two runs, but the Angels lost. Skaggs has taken advantage of a soft schedule recently as he was 3-1 with a 0.84 ERA in the month of June.
I am always very leery of young pitchers that are coming off the disabled list. It is just a hard thing to do, to miss time and disrupt your rhythm and then snap right back into form. That is what the Angels need out of Tyler Skaggs tonight, and I just don’t see it happening. Not that I think he will be all that bad, but to see him as a favorite against a very good team like the Mariners, with a very good pitcher like Paxton on the mound, was quite surprising.
When I look at this game, I see Paxton as the better starter, and I see the Mariners as the better overall team. The only thing that I see that makes me a little worried is the fact that this game is in LA. But when you look at the home and road splits for each team I feel good about backing the Mariners. Seattle is nine games over .500 on the road this season, that is the third-best road winning percentage in the American League.
And the Angels? They are just 23-23 at home. So, it’s not like they are some wrecking crew at home, and I won’t let it scare me off taking what I see as the much better team and picking up some dog money tonight. Give me the Seattle Mariners as road underdogs tonight in what should be a low scoring thriller of a game at -104!