Good riddance, Angels
Yusei Kikuchi did not enjoy facing the Angels this season
July 21, 2019
With the merciful end of today's loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners bid adieu to their AL West rivals for the season. Due to the quirky schedules we get nowadays, there always seems to be something odd with the Angels' dates on the calendar—last year all three of their visits to Seattle were done with before the M's set foot in Orange County, for example—and this year it's that the season series is done with on July 21st.
And we say to the Halos, don't let the door hit you in the behind on the way out.
In the aggregate, the Angels and Mariners nearly split their series, with the Halos winning 10 of 19, but it feels like it was so much worse than that. Five of Seattle's nine wins came in April, when the M's were blowing everyone's minds with a 13-2 start to the season, so naturally the fresher wounds of May through July seem to carry more weight. Aside from Mike Leake's masterpiece on Friday night, the last two weekends facing the Angels have been god-awful for the Mariners—down in Anaheim, the Halos swept Seattle outscoring the M's 28-5 and no-hitting them once to boot; though Leake got his revenge, the rest of this weekend's set at the ballpark by Elliott Bay was just as bad.
Saturday's tilt started well enough, with the M's taking a 2-0 lead after the third thanks to good situational hitting from Dee Gordon and a clutch hit from Omar Narváez. But they gave those runs right back in the top of the fourth and couldn't break the tie as the game progressed. In fact, until the ninth inning, the M's managed just two baserunners, Kyle Seager reaching on an error in the sixth and Austin Nola drawing a walk in the seventh. Narváez would get a hit in the ninth, but by then it was too late. Slumping lefty Roenis Elías took the mound for the Mariners in the top of the ninth and once again got pummeled, giving up four runs including a three-run bomb off the bat of Mike Trout to give the Angels their winning margin of 6-2.
For this afternoon's game on Edgar Martínez Hall of Fame induction day, things started bad and got worse. Yusei Kikuchi had not done well against the Angels this year before this—1-2, 10.91 ERA, 6 HR surrendered in four starts—and continued that trend today. Kikuchi would eventually give up seven runs (all earned), including homers to Albert Pujols and Brian Goodwin, over just five innings. By the time the M's got on the board in the seventh on a Mallex Smith RBI-double, the Halos were already up 8-0. Seattle would plate two more in the ninth off of Trevor Cahill, but the difference between 9-3 and 9-1 is rather flimsy.
Mallex didn't have a great series on the basepaths; though he reached base four times in eleven tries, he was picked off three times and caught stealing once. Kyle Seager was 1-for-10. So was J.P. Crawford. Domingo Santana struck out seven times. Dee Gordon did OK, though, with a 6-for-9 series. And as for Elías, Seattle's de facto closer has been terrible since the end of June. In seven games from June 29th through this series, the Cuban lefty has gone 0-2 with one save, one blown save, four homers allowed, a batting average against of .407, and an ERA of 14.29. Even Bobby Ayala would have trouble reaching those depths.
At least we had Mike Leake's almost-perfect game. That was fun.
Good riddance, Angels. See you next year, when, hopefully, things will be different.
Mariners vs. Angels, by the numbers
- Total runs scored: 30 (SEA 15, LAA 15)
- Home runs hit: 7 (SEA 2, LAA 5)
- Bases stolen/attempts: 4/5 (SEA 2 - Smith, Crawford; LAA 2)
- Errors committed: 1 (LAA 1)
- Quality starts: 1 (SEA 1 - Leake)
- Pitching changes: 18 (SEA 7, LAA 11)
- Starters ERA (includes “openers”): 3.00 (SEA 7.00, LAA 1.50)
- Bullpen ERA (includes “headliners”): 8.22 (SEA 6.00, LAA 8.36)
- Runners left on base: 34 (SEA 22, LAA 12)
- Near-perfect games: 1