SPORTS BETTING - It feels like just yesterday that the 2023 MLB season began, but we’re already hitting crunch time with the season trade deadline taking place at 6pm on Tuesday, August 1.
With the exception of any rookie call-ups or waiver wire acquisitions, the upcoming weekend of games will be the first full series’ where we see soon-to-be postseason rosters take the field in their completed forms.
Perhaps the most intriguing of the upcoming series of games this weekend is the four-game slate between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels, set to begin in Anaheim on Thursday, August 3. While we’re still a few days out from the matchup, we do have a basic idea of how the game could go based on which pitchers are set to start for each team in the game.
Los Angeles will likely send left-hander Tyler Anderson to the mound. He served as their No. 2 pitcher behind Ohtani for much of this season but could drop down to the No. 3 role now that the Angels have added right-hander Lucas Giolito to the mix in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago White Sox. If the Mariners stay the course over the next few days, they’re probably going to counter with right-hander George Kirby… but things can get funky around the deadline.
What are the Stakes?
With no guarantees that all-world pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani returns to the Angels as a free agent following the conclusion of this season, Los Angeles is going all in.
The Mariners, on the other hand, sit on the opposite side of the spectrum. Widely expected to be World Series contenders in 2023 after making it back to the postseason for the first time in more than two decades in 2022, they’ve struggled to a 55-51 record as of the end of play on July 31 as young players like Julio Rodriguez struggle to follow up on their impressive debut seasons, part of a larger trend of offensive struggles. As such, they looked to acquire young talent at the deadline, flipping veteran relief pitcher Paul Sewald to the Diamondbacks for a pair of prospects while otherwise standing pat.
The funny thing is that the Angels (56-51) sit just half a game ahead of Seattle in the standings, and the Mariners have that game in hand.
Right now, not even the sportsbooks can decide which team has a better chance of winning the World Series this year, even with the Angels buying and the Mariners selling. They’re both hovering somewhere between +6000 and +7000 to win it all this season, though the exact rankings vary depending on which app you use. Odds and promotions can vary quite a bit from sportsbook to sportsbook, so make sure you shop around for the best betting promos so that you know you’re locking in the best possible odds of winning big.
With Los Angeles’ window closing, though (especially if Ohtani leaves town) and the Mariners still loaded with young talent, it makes sense that Seattle would look to regroup while the Angels play a more desperate game.
At 3 (Los Angeles) and 3.5 (Seattle) games out of the last wild card spot in the American League as play begins on August 1, a strong showing in the upcoming weekend series could be the spark that keys a playoff push for either team in the last two weeks of the regular season.
Beyond Giolito, the Angels also picked up reliever Reynaldo López, infielder C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk.
None of them moves the needle in a massive way, but they’re capable options (especially in a platoon setting) who can cover for a recent rash of injuries the Halos have sustained.
All-world center fielder Mike Trout has missed nearly a month after breaking a bone in his hand, and another hit by pitch came up costly on Saturday, with left fielder Taylor Ward taking a pitch to the dome that landed him on the 60-day injured list.
Trout could be back in a couple weeks: Ward would need to have a perfect recovery in order to take part in potential playoff games. The beauty of baseball is that the stars can align for a stopgap player for a month or two—look at Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler in the Atlanta Braves’ 2021 World Series run.
The same could be said for the Mariners, as Rodriguez could break out of his sophomore slump and catch fire down the stretch. Time is running out for both clubs, though. Los Angeles holds a 4-2 record against the Mariners to date this season: can they carry that mojo into an all-time championship run with one of the greatest players the game has ever seen?
(Alex Whitelaw is a writer for Fan Go Sports.)