Fox Saturday Baseball is back with an American League West matchup between the Angels and the Mariners. The Angels have been the most disappointing team in the majors so far this year, but they are showing small signs of life in the last few days. They’ll have to go up against former CY Young winner Felix Hernandez in this one.
Albert Pujols slumped horribly through the first month and a half of the season, but he is starting to hit. Pujols has four homers in the past nine games, and he went 3 for 4 in the opening game of this series. Mike Trout has been called up and inserted as the Angels leadoff hitter. Trout is one of the highest rated prospects in baseball, and he is hitting .312 so far in 2012. Vernon Wells is out until mid-July with an injury, and Torii Hunter is out indefinitely for personal reasons. One positive is Mark Trumbo has been getting more playing time, and he continues to hit the ball for power.
The Angels have gotten 32 quality starts from their starting rotation this year, which is second best in the majors. Jerome Williams is a solid 4-2 with a 3.74 ERA this season. Williams is 0-2 with a 5.96 ERA on the road, but the Seattle lineup is one of the weakest in baseball.
King Felix will be on the mound for the Mariners in this one. Hernandez bounced back from a poor outing against Cleveland with a masterful performance against the mighty Texas Rangers lineup in his last start. Hernandez is a real workhorse on the mound, pitching at least 200 innings in four straight seasons. He has had an ERA of 3.47 or better in all four of those seasons. Hernandez has been nearly unhittable at home this year. He is 2-1 with a 0.87 ERA in 31 innings so far this year at Safeco Field.
The Mariners offense is one of the worst in baseball. Only Ichiro Suzuki has an average higher than .263, and his .283 average is far below his career average. Youngster Kyle Seager leads the team with 26 RBI’s. Justin Smoak has to turn it around for this team, as he has a lowly on-base-percentage of .251 so far this year. Seattle must get some offense if they expect to be competitive in the long run.
Free MLB Pick: Under 6.5
This is a very low number, but it is set this low for a good reason. The Angels offense has struggled all season, and they’ll face one of the best pitchers in baseball on Saturday. The Mariners struggle to score on a nightly basis. Look for a low scoring game.