MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Seattle Mariners

Date/Time: July 10, 7:05 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Hector Santiago (5-4, 2.40) vs. Mike Montgomery (4-2, 1.62)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Seattle -115

Total: 7

If this series is Seattle’s last stand, or at the very least the turning point of the season, they got off to a good start. Backed by seven dominant innings from Felix Hernandez, the Mariners took down a 7-2 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday night. The Mariners improved to 40-46 and picked up a game on both the Angels and the Houston Astros. The Angels dropped to 46-39 after winning 11 of their last 14 games to get back in the hunt in the division.

It has been a roller coaster ride over the last three weeks for the Angels. They were 37-37 on June 26 before winning nine of 10 to make up some ground on the Astros atop the AL West. While they were winning games, the friction between dugout fixture Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto reached a boiling point and Dipoto resigned from his post. Owner Arte Moreno, who was raked over the coals for his handling of the Josh Hamilton situation, sided with the longtime manager and Dipoto left as gracefully as he could. Scioscia, the veteran skipper, has done a good job of keeping the players focused on the field and not on the dysfunction in the offices upstairs.

The Mariners have spent the bulk of the season under .500, as many as eight games below the break-even mark. A lack of offense has been the biggest problem, as the Mariners are scoring just 3.6 runs per game. They have also struggled against good teams with a 16-32 record against teams .500 or better. The Mariners haven’t come close to living up to the high expectations placed on them before the season and time is running out. Even last year, when the Mariners finished 87-75, they were 47-39 after 86 games.

A couple of lefties are on the menu on Friday night as Hector Santiago opposes Mike Montgomery. Both of these pitchers have been pleasant surprises for their respective teams. Nobody saw this season’s performance coming from Hector Santiago. With an increase in strikeouts and walks, the former White Sox lefty has posted a 2.40 ERA, but his advanced metrics tell a dangerous tale with a 4.10 FIP and a 4.46 xFIP. Santiago’s exceptionally low BABIP against of .234 and exceptionally high 89 percent strand rate stand out as outliers. Santiago, an extreme fly ball pitcher, has induced a lot of pop ups this season and has managed to keep hitters off-balance.

Mike Montgomery, who took a very circuitous route to the Major Leagues, has adopted the Santiago style of outpitching his advanced stats. In seven starts, Montgomery has allowed a .221 BABIP against, has stranded 86.6 percent of runners, and has posted a terrific 1.62 ERA. His 3.26 FIP and 4.15 xFIP suggest regression on the horizon, but that’s not always a guarantee. Some call it “smoke and mirrors” and others will call it good sequencing and command. Whatever the case may be, Montgomery, a supplemental first-round pick in 2008, is just happy to be producing at the big league level after parts of eight seasons in the minors with three different organizations.

Pick: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Neither team has had much success against lefties this season. The Angels have a good record at 13-7, but their .304 wOBA ranks 16th. The Mariners are just 8-10, but their wOBA against lefties is just two points and two places behind the Angels. For the fly ball hurler in Santiago, Safeco Field should be a safe park for him to pitch in and he misses bats at a higher level than Montgomery. Also, the Mariners had some bullpen issues again on Thursday night and those have to be a consideration in what projects to be a close game.