I know what you’re thinking. The Mariners? C’mon. The can’t score. They’re terrible. The Angels are the bigger threat! While the Angels are closer in the standings, the Mariners have been a pesky team for the A’s to face. To date, the A’s and M’s have split the season series at 5-5, while the A’s are 6-3 against LAA and their terrible bullpen. The Mariners are the threat in the division because they have the pitching to match the A’s.
Everyone knows about the A’s run differential by now. The team with the second-best differential? The Mariners. Yes, they may not score at as high of a pace as the A’s, but they have allowed just 3 more runs that the A’s staff on the season. The one thing we all know the A’s struggle against is solid pitching. The scary part is that they still have one more starter in Triple-A that can come up at any time and bolster an already solid staff. His name? Taijuan Walker.
In his minor league career, Walker has a 3.55 ERA and a 9.8 K/9 rate. He has dealt with an injury this season, but has just began to pitch in the minors once more. Through 5 starts, his HR allowed totals are a little high, but when those get in line, he will be on a bus to Seattle.
Yes, the Angels are ahead of the Mariners in nearly every statistical category offensively. However, the Seattle bullpen is the best in the AL with a 2.76 ERA. The Angels? Luck has not been on their side, languishing at #26 in baseball with a 4.49 ‘pen ERA.
This season, the Athletics have managed to get to Jered Weaver on a couple of occasions. Felix Hernandez on the other hand, is a King. In his worst outing against the A’s, he gave up 3 runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 IP. The M’s record in Felix’s starts against Oakland this season is 3-0.
Now, this isn’t to say that I think that the Mariners will win the division, but as I said before the season started, I think the Mariners will finish in a not-too-distant second.