May 8, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after getting the final out against the Kansas City Royals in the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Gameday Preview versus the Rays

May 8, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after getting the final out against the Kansas City Royals in the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Initial Thoughts:

“Run support? What is this thing you can run support?” I can only imagine something to that effect ran through King Felix Hernandez‘s head last night after being staked with a 9-0 lead after just three innings.

The Mariners are now 20-18, poised to win game two and ensure another series win.

Tonight’s matchup is a pitcher’s duel, with aces (or ace 1-A in ‘Kuma’s case) abounding.

Game Details:

Seattle Mariners: 20-18. Last 10: (

Tampa Bay Rays: 16-23. Last 10: (

Time: 7:10 PM Pacific. Location: Seattle, Washington. Safeco Field.

 

MATCHUPS:

Pitching:

Seattle Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0, 2.45 ERA) v. Tampa Bay Rays LHP David Price (3-3, 4.53 ERA)

EDGE: Iwakuma. Making just his 3rd start after returning from injury, ‘Kuma has been lights out and already picked up two victories. With the second ace back in the rotation, the M’s are already immediately more competitive. Price– mired in trade rumors throughout the offseason– has had a slow start to the season for a disappointing Rays club. He may put up a fight in pitcher-friendly Safeco, but Iwakuma has the upper hand tonight.

Probable Lineups:

Mariners:

James Jones 8

Stefen Romero 9

Robinson Cano 4

Corey Hart DH

Justin Smoak 3

Kyle Seager 5

Cole Gillespie 7

Mike Zunino 2

Brad Miller 6

Of Note: The M’s offense went off last night, with home runs from Romero, Zunino, and Smoak. Moreover, the combinations of Jones, Romero, and Michael Saunders (when he was healthy) has played dividends at the top of the lineup. Jones is batting .391 on the season and Romero went 3-5 and drove in 3 runs last night.

Rays:

David DeJesus DH

Ben Zobrist 4

Matt Joyce 7

Evan Longoria 5

James Loney 3

Wil Myers 9

Desmond Jennings 8

Yunel Escobar 6

Ryan Hanigan 2

Of Note: The Rays did manage 10 hits, but the 2-3-4 hitters threw up the goose egg. The Rays are still desperately waiting for Myers and Longoria to get hot and try to salvage a season that is tanking quickly.

 

Other Notes:

The M’s remain 3.5 back of the division-leading A’s, who sit at 24-15… they have been playing lights out since losing their first 3 games of the 4-game series against the M’s. The M’s and A’s don’t face off again until July 11th, so it will be interesting to see if that series comes with potentially division-jostling implications.

 

Final Thoughts:

Even with the 4-game series split against the Royals this past weekend, the Mariners are one of the hottest teams in baseball. They are winning consistently, and in all sorts of ways: small-ball 1-0 victories and 12-5 blowout block parties.

These young players are learning how to win and scrape and batting and fight every single day. With pitching reinforcements starting in on rehab assignments (see: Taijuan Walker and James Paxton), this teams only stands to improve in the coming weeks.

Expect ‘Kuma to be ‘Kuma, and for David Price to continue his early season struggles tonight.

Score Prediction:

Mariners 3, Rays 1

 

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Tags: Hisashi Iwakuma Seattle Mariners

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