The AL-West heavy schedule continues this weekend for the hometown Seattle Mariners. With James Paxton placed on the 15-day disabled list there is a little bit of confusion as to how the new rotation will work out, but at least we’re going to get a Felix start on Friday!
Felix gets the ball for his triumphant return to Safeco Field. Of note, the Mariners are hosting a Supreme Court on Friday night and the first 25,000 fans through the gates will be sporting yellow shirts and waving big K cards. The Mariners will be facing Tommy Milone, who will make his season debut for Oakland after missing his first start due to a rainout.
Poor Erasmo got kicked around a little bit in his last start against Oakland last week. He only went four innings and gave up 5 earned runs in the eventual loss to the A’s. That loss was at the hands of Sonny Gray, yes, we’re going to see a rematch of last week’s game. The sophomore pitcher is one of the most heralded pitchers in Oakland right now and the A’s are trying to turn him into the staff ace.
Chris Young is getting the nod for Sunday’s game, this will be his first start of the season after making an appearance in relief in Oakland last week. He was good for the two innings he pitched and can hopefully keep that ball rolling. Scott Kazmir on the other hand has been pretty dominant over his two starts so far this season. He’s gotten lots of run support (14 runs over two games) from his team and that’s helped his record early in the season.
- Justin Smoak is continuing his hot April, continuing that trend of extra-base hits that Lloyd McClendon asked for this spring. This is excellent news for the Mariners because it means that pitchers are going to have to pitch to Robison Cano rather than walking him and getting to the rest of the lineup. A huge key to success is going to be keeping the spot behind Cano hot.
- With all the talk this off-season about how the Mariners were in need of a right handed bat, the M’s are doing surprisingly well against lefties so far. In particular against CJ Wilson in Anaheim last week were the Mariners rocked the starter for eight hits.
- Hisashi Iwakuma is pitching again, and things are progressing well. We might be only a few weeks away from seeing him. In the mean time, the rotation remains decimated. With James Paxton on the 15-day DL with that lat strain, Lucas Luetge has been called up. So we’ll get to see him for a little bit while we wait for the rest of the rotation to heal up.
- Abraham Almonte has been decent at the top of the lineup. He accounted for the Mariners’ only hit Wednesday night, so I suppose that’s something. There was a lot of controversy about plopping him at the top of the lineup, but so far he has earned it.
- I mentioned earlier that it’s a Supreme Court weekend, remember, the first 25,000 fans to the ballpark will get a special Felix shirt and sign. I last checked this afternoon for tickets, and there are still lots available for under $20 bucks. So get out there and support the King!
- Corey Hart‘s two-homer game on Tuesday was fantastic, and it certainly makes us feel better about the double-knee-surgery import. With how well Justin Smoak has been playing we’re going to see him taking most of the reps at first base, leaving Hart, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero take turns in right field.
- Finally, Robinson Cano said the other day that the Mariners “can compete with anybody.” Which thus far means little given that they’ve only played two teams. On the other hand, you’ve got to feel good about how things have gone so far.