July has not been a good month for the Los Angeles Angels, with the team having to deal with the death of Tyler Skaggs and the injury to Jonathan Lucroy. But Friday night showed the resiliency of the team, as they honored Skaggs in their first home game since his passing and came away with a 13-0 win over the Seattle Mariners in a combined no-hitter between Taylor Cole and Felix Pena.
Now, the two teams continue their series on Saturday night, with the Mariners looking for just their third win in their last 12 games. Los Angeles, meanwhile, despite all its troubles this month, sit just 5.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. The Angels obviously have some work to do, but they’ve been playing with a purpose since Skaggs’ death.
There has not been a moneyline or over/under set for this contest as the Mariners have yet to announce a starter after using seven pitchers in the opener.
Struggles In Seattle
The Mariners are essentially playing out the string even though it’s only July. They haven’t won back-to-back games since late June and sit 19.5 games behind first-place Houston in the American League West. It’s a far cry from the team’s unbelievable 13-2 start to the season. Since that point, the Mariners are just 26-54, and things don’t look like they’ll be getting better anytime soon.
Offensively, Seattle still has some pop, with Daniel Vogelbach leading five current Mariners in double digits in home runs with 21. The lone Seattle All-Star also has 51 RBI and 49 runs scored. Domingo Santana has been solid all season long, batting .283 with 18 home runs, 63 RBI and 52 runs, leading the team in all those categories other than home runs.
The Angels came out of the gate for the second half of the season with an inspired performance, from the no-hitter to matching their season high with 13 runs. Now Los Angeles gets another boost with the return of Matt Harvey to the mound after he’s missed the last seven weeks due to an upper-back strain. Harvey has started just 10 games this season, putting together a 2-4 record and a 7.50 ERA. Harvey’s last start was his worst of the season, as he lasted just 2 2/3 innings against Minnesota, giving up eight runs on seven hits, four of them home runs.
All-Star outfielder Mike Trout continued his hot streak in the first game of the second half, hitting a home run and two doubles, drawing a walk, reaching on a hit-by-pitch, and finishing with six RBI. For the season, Trout is hitting .307 with 29 home runs and 73 RBI, but in July alone, he is batting .407 with seven home runs and 16 RBI. Rightfielder Kole Calhoun has also been putting things together, batting .313 with two home runs and six RBI in July.
Angels Keep Rolling
Harvey has not been very good this season, but the Angels are hoping he’s rediscovered his mojo after being on the injured list for nearly two months. The Los Angeles offense has found another gear, thanks to Trout, and whoever takes the mound for the Mariners is going to be facing a potential buzzsaw. I’m taking Los Angeles in this one.