MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Seattle Mariners

Date/Time: July 12, 4:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Andrew Heaney (2-0, 1.77) vs. Taijuan Walker (7-6, 4.53)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Seattle -115

Total: 7

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have done everything they can to put pressure on the Houston Astros atop the AL West Division. Unfortunately, they face the possibility of getting swept in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. The Angels will turn to rookie left-hander Andrew Heaney against Taijuan Walker. Walker has been on some kind of run for the Mariners over his last several starts and it has been just what the M’s have needed. With Felix Hernandez pitching through some inconsistencies and Hisashi Iwakuma just making his return to the rotation, the Mariners got a real shot in the arm from Walker. Heaney has provided a similar lift for the Angels, so these are two quality arms facing off on Sunday.

The Astros continue to struggle to score runs, which is a big reason why the Angels have been able to get back into the hunt. With Houston’s loss, the Angels stayed just a half-game in back of the division leaders. The Mariners need to make up ground a little at a time. Injuries and a lack of offense from everybody not named Nelson Cruz put the Mariners in an early hole that they have been fighting to climb out of. The problem is that Seattle hasn’t won more than four games in a row, so they haven’t been able to string anything together.

Andrew Heaney will be asked to stop the bleeding into the All-Star Break. The talented left-hander was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Howie Kendrick trade after the Dodgers acquired Heaney from the Miami Marlins for Dee Gordon. Heaney posted a 6-2 record with a 4.71 ERA in Triple-A, but his 3.11 FIP certainly painted a prettier picture and one that the Angels were encouraged by. In three MLB starts, Heaney has looked completely in control of both his stuff and his emotions. He has a 2-0 record with a 1.77 ERA, a 3.12 FIP, and a 3.14 xFIP. His poise with men on base has allowed him to carry a 91.6 percent strand rate. Heaney may run into some trouble down the road because he is a three-pitch starter, but that mix is good enough right now because of good fastball command and a plus changeup. Considering that Heaney’s first three starts came against the Astros, Yankees, and Rockies at Coors Field, this start should feel like a walk in the park against the mediocre Mariners offense.

On the other side, Taijuan Walker is absolutely locked in at this point. Walker has battled all sorts of injury issues in the minor leagues, so his track record is pockmarked with small sample sizes and unhealthy innings. Over his 17 Major League starts this season, Walker is 7-6 with a 4.53 ERA, a 4.28 FIP, and a 3.83 xFIP. Walker gave up five runs on six hits in his last start, but in the previous seven starts, Walker owned a 1.68 ERA with a .199/.221/.318 slash line against. He had a 51/3 K/BB ratio over a span that included Cleveland twice, Houston, the Yankees, and the Angels. In that start against the Angels, Walker threw seven innings of one-run ball, scattering seven hits with six strikeouts.

Pick: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Occasional command problems have been there for Walker throughout the season, with 16 home runs allowed in 97.1 innings. So far, Heaney hasn’t had those sorts of issues. The Angels have been one of the hottest offensive teams of late and they have fewer bullpen questions than the Mariners right now if this is a close game.