Angels Mariners Battle In The AL West

ANGELS/MARINERS SHAPING UP AS HUGE BATTLE IN AL WEST

It's a bit early to start talking about the pennant races in the 2015 Major League Baseball season. But, if the season goes according to early expectations, then the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners are going to be in quite a race for first place in the American League West.

You could tell that right away from the Regular Season Win projections in the betting marketplace. Here's where the numbers were centered entering the new season.

LA Angels 88 wins
Seattle 86.5 wins
Oakland 81.5 wins
Houston 75.5 wins
Texas 75.5 wins

Oakland has a knack for being better than the market expects almost every year. Maybe it's going to be a three team race. Or, maybe the market's right and it's going to be the Angels and Mariners neck and neck all season. It certainly adds some excitement to opening week to have Los Angeles and Seattle opening head-to-head!

The series started yesterday afternoon. Game Two will be Tuesday under the lights, with C.J. Wilson of the Angels hoping to bounce back from a poor 2014 facing young James Paxton of the Mariners. Let's run some of JIM HURLEY'S favorite indicator stats to shed more light on proceedings. Early in a new season, we always focus on the prior year's stats until we get a bit of a sample size.

2014 OFFENSE
LA Angels: 4.77 runs per game, .322 on-base, .406 slugging
Seattle: 3.91 runs per game, .300 on-base, .376 slugging

Those look to be fairly big advantages for the Angels. They had a fantastic offense last season. It's important to remember that Seattle's stats are greatly hampered by having to play 81 games at home in a great pitcher's park. If you look only at their road numbers, you can see why the market is so high on them.

Seattle (road): 4.36 runs per game, .306 on-base, .380 slugging

That's still worse than the Angels...but much better than everyone realizes. When you factor in the likelihood that Seattle will have the better pitching staff this season...THAT'S why so many sharps were betting Seattle to win this division. They're only a little worse with the bats, but a lot better on the mound. They'll win low scoring games at home, higher scoring games on the road when things are going well.

Speaking of shaky Angels pitching...

2014 STATS OF TUESDAY'S PITCHERS
CJ Wilson: 4.51 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 7.7 K-Rate, 5.7 IP-per-Start
James Paxton: 3.04 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7.2 K-Rate 5.7 IP-per-Start

Wow...31 starts for Wilson to put up bad numbers like that in a division with some pitcher's parks and shaky offenses! He kept marching out to the mound because the Halos didn't have a lot of options. If he repeats that level of performance in 2015...it's going to be tough for the team to contend even with a great offense. Paxton only made 13 starts in half a season. He was certainly respectable, though the home park helped his ERA. That 5.7 innings pitched average per start needs to come up before Paxton can be seen as particularly scary.

Edge to the Angels with the bats...but potentially a big edge on the mound if Wilson hasn't fixed what ailed him. LAA/Seattle may or may not end up on the Tuesday ticket for JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK. There are several other baseball games, and a nice slate of NBA action too. You can purchase the final word for Tuesday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours.

Back tomorrow with another big game preview in the baseball. Some pundits think the LA Dodgers may be set for a divisional battle with the new-look San Diego Padres this season. We'll cover their Wednesday right here...

Wednesday: MLB Preview...San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Thursday: NBA TV Preview...Chicago at Miami or Portland at Golden State on TNT
Friday: MLB Series Preview...Detroit Tigers at the Cleveland Indians
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Washington Nationals at the Boston Red Sox
Wednesday April 15: NBA Season Finale "Must-Game" Preview (if applicable)
Friday April 17: NBA Playoff previews begin!

Once the NBA Playoffs begin in the middle of the month, we'll be fairly heavy in the baskets on a day-by-day basis. As usual, we'll preview a big game each night...on the way toward knocking out a discussion of all eight first round series in the first eight days. Then, we'll pick our spots for Game Six and Game Seven drama before jumping into Round Two. There are so many very good teams this year...some will be banging into each other right away!

Be sure you're with us all through April, May, and June for the best in baseball, basketball, and Triple Crown horse racing coverage. SPRING INTO ACTION to make sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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