Seattle (49-25, 26-10 away) 1st place: AL West (2nd: power rankings)
Anaheim (37-26, 18-15 home) 3rd place: AL West (19th: power rankings)
Tuesday, June 24, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Freddy Garcia (R) (8-6, 4.30 ERA)
Anaheim: Aaron Sele (R) (3-5, 6.52)
Wednesday, June 25, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Jamie Moyer (L) (10-4, 2.93)
Anaheim: Ramon Ortiz (R) (8-5, 4.65)
Thursday, June 26, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Gil Meche (R) (9-3, 2.89)
Anaheim: Jarrod Washburn (L) (6-8, 3.87)
Ichiro comes into the series third in the Majors in the batting average department with a mark of .356. Riding an 18-game hit-streak, Ichiro also leads the Majors in hits with 109, comfortably ahead of Nomar Garciaparra (104) of the Red Sox. Freddy Garcia has been the hottest pitcher on the Mariners in the past month with a 5-0 record and 1.88 ERA. He looks to continue his winning streak in the series opener against former Mariner and Poulsbo, Wash. native, Aaron Sele. Gil Meche has also been hot lately, as he has all year, posting a 3-1 record over the past month.
Right-hander Ramon Ortiz is coming off one of his top two outings of the season, holding the Mariners scoreless over 7.2 innings to earn his eighth win of the season. He'll face Jamie Moyer on Wednesday in the rematch. Offensively, three bats crushed the ball last week. DH Brad Fullmer went 8-17 with two homeruns. Garret Anderson smacked three longballs en route to a 7-23 week from the plate. And 2B Adam Kennedy, back from injury, went 5-16 with a homer of his own.
The Mariners are coming off a series loss for the first time since losing two of three at home to Montreal three series' ago. Making that hurt more is the fact that it came in the hands of the San Diego Padres, possibly the worst team in baseball. The guy who caught the most trouble was set-up man Jeff Nelson, who gave up a walk-off homerun to Rondell White in a save situation in the series opener last Friday. This would set the tone for the series. The Mariners now play the World Champion Angels, a team they took three of four from last week. Jamie Moyer looks to get a win for the first time in two starts. Moyer was once 10-2, which was the best in the Majors by a couple of wins, but dropped his last two decisions to Atlanta and Anaheim. He has now seen several pitchers tie that mark and Roy Halladay of Toronto move ahead, winning his 11th straight game on Sunday.
Anaheim has been a huge disappointment this year after coming out of nowhere to win the World Series a season ago. They are not getting the same production out of their big bats, except for continual productivity out of the league's most underrated player, Garret Anderson. 3B Troy Glaus was mired in a miserable 0-24 slump last week before getting a hit Thursday and another Friday. Still, he's only 2-32 since June 14. As a result his average has dipped to .270. Making matters even worse is the recent production of outfielder Tim Salmon and shortstop David Eckstein. Salmon is 2-20 in his last six games, and Eckstein, who went 0-14 in the four-game series against the Mariners last week, has just one hit in his last 22 at bats. On the pitching side of things, both John Lackey (4IP, 5H, 4ER) and Jarrod Washburn (5IP, 8H, 5ER, 4HR) are coming off of very rough outings against a terrible-hitting Dodgers team.
Richie Stone is the brain behind the series previews at InsidethePark.com. Let him know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.