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Seattle remains in the heat of the division race heading into the All-Star Break. They enter play on Tuesday evening trailing the AL West-leading Houston Astros by just three games in the standings and currently hold a six-game advantage over the Oakland A’s for the final Wild Card spot in the American League.
Mariners maintaining Wild Card lead over A’s
The Mariners will turn to lefty Marco Gonzales for another start against the Angels this season. This will be Gonzales’ fourth outing against L.A. in the past nine weeks and his second straight start against the division-rival Halos. The 26-year-old enters Wednesday’s outing with a stellar 9-5 overall record to go along with a 3.64 ERA in 18 starts this year and he’s been particularly dominant as of late, allowing just two earned runs over his past two starts, spanning 15 innings of work. Gonzales followed up a complete game gem against the Kansas City Royals by limiting the Angels to just one earned run in six innings in his last outing. Starting pitching has been one of the major reasons that Seattle remains in the division race this season and the emergence of Gonzales as a legitimate Major League starter has been a big part of that. The Mariners’ left-hander has now completed six innings or more in seven of his last eight starts and the team is 6-2 in those games.
He comes into Wednesday’s matchup with a 1-0 record and a 4.24 ERA in three starts against the Halos, but all three of those outings came within the friendly confines of Safeco Field, where he is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA on the year.
Halos struggling to keep pace in heated division race
The Angels will counter by sending young right-hander Jaime Barria to the hill at Angel Stadium for the second game of their series versus the Mariners. The Halos have lost each of Barria’s last five trips to the mound, but it is hard to blame the 21-year-old for those defeats. He allowed two earned runs or less in four of those five outings, including his last start, which also came against the Mariners. He allowed just two earned runs across 5 ⅓ innings of work against Seattle, but took a tough luck loss on the night. The defeat marked Barria’s fourth consecutive loss dating back to June 12.
Barria has made two total starts versus the Mariners in 2018 and both have come in the past month. He lost both outings, despite allowing just two earned runs in each of those starts. He is 0-2 with a 3.48 ERA versus the Mariners this season. According to Baseball Savant, the current Mariners’ lineup is batting .325 in 44 plate appearances versus the Halos’ right-hander.
- Mariners are 7-0 in Gonzales’ last 7 starts during game 2 of a series.
- Mariners are 5-0 in Gonzales’ last 5 starts vs. American League West.
- Angels are 5-16 in their last 21 games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Angels are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. American League West.
There is some value on Seattle here. Barria has lost both of his starts against the Mariners in 2018 and Gonzales is 1-0 with a respectable 4.24 ERA in three outings versus the Halos this year. Seattle took two of three from the Angels at Safeco Field to start the month of July and they are 5-1 in their last six meetings overall. Look for that trend to continue and take the Mariners in this clash between AL West contenders at Angel Stadium.