It feels like it’s about time the wheels fell off. After all those series wins, this week’s loss to the Rays was painful. Hisashi Iwakuma has been a pitching God, as per usual, which made it so much harder to watch Fernando Rodney implode on Tuesday night. It’s not the worst thing to happen to the Mariners, blown saves are inevitable, but it sure did suck to watch. The worst thing for the M’s is that they fall back to third in the West, behind the Angels. This weekend is going to be important to get back on the winning train against the Twins. Here’s your Mariners Series Preview for this weekend.
I’m not sure I can think of any more ways to pump Chris Young’s tires. He’s been a huge rock in the shattered Mariners rotation. As I’ve noted in his last few starts, he’s finally getting some runs from the offense, and he’s won his last three starts. Kyle Gibson has been moderate through 7 starts this season. His last start against the Tigers was embarrassing however. He went only 2.0 innings giving up 6 runs, all earned. He’ll certainly be looking for redemption.
Elias’ start last week certainly wasn’t his best of the season, he went 5 innings and yielded 5 runs to the Royals, but that was a weird game anyways. He really fell into a groove over the Mariners’ last road trip, so hopefully he can rekindle some of that magic again. Deduno is still making his transition into the starting rotation after beginning the season in the bullpen. This will be his third start. He managed to go 6 innings against a very strong Tigers offense last week, giving up only 3 runs, so he is certainly not to be taken lightly.
Felix! Felix! Felix! The king took his first ejection ever on Monday after getting squeezed all night at the plate. It was moot though, Lloyd McClendon had already brought out the hook. Felix did manage to get off that losing train though, after a few mediocre starts, the King looked pretty good, and the Mariners exploded for 12 runs (though, they’ve been shutout since then). Nolasco isn’t making the transition to the AL very well, as he’s been hit around a bit since coming to the Twins. It’s not entirely his fault though, two weeks ago Nolasco had a rarely seen complete game loss. The Twins were shut out 3-0. Some more offense from Minnesota and Nolasco’s numbers would certainly be better looking.
- Brad Miller is taking a lot of heat lately. But it’s not unwarranted. It seems like whenever he screws up its at the worst times. Calls have been made to bring up someone from Tacoma to make this better.
- That someone might have to be Nick Franklin, as Chris Taylor was just announced to have a broken bone in his finger. While it’s nothing serious, don’t expect to see him for a few weeks.
- The Mariners have been shut out in two straight games. Both of which were winnable with just a little bit of offense. If the Mariners really do plan on being contenders, this is an opportune time to get the momentum back.
- Lloyld McClendon made a statement when he was ejected on Wednesday. Lloyd threw a hat into the stands on his way off the field, and gave fans at least something to cheer about.
- Fernando Rodney notched his second blown save of the season on Tuesday when he blew an Iwakuma gem in the ninth. There’s already been calls for blood from the fans, but given how expensive he was, I doubt Danny Farquhar will be taking over any time soon.
- Logan Morrison is travelling with the team this weekend, so look for him to be coming back very soon.
- Robinson Cano is in a 23-game streak where he’s safely reached base.
- The Twins are right in the middle of a tight AL Central. Aside from the Tigers, everyone is within 1.5 games of each other, so the standings there are changing daily.
- Joe Mauer was sidelined for the first week of May with back spasms, but he’s been back in the lineup for almost a week and has looked fine. Since his return he’s batted .333/.409/.333. Which is right where the Twins want him to be given that he’s been batting third all week.
- Josh Willingham has been on the DL since early April with a fractured wrist, but he’s taken some BP this week and the Twins have just shipped him off to AAA for a rehab stint. The Twins claim there’s still no timeline for his return, but it should be coming up very soon.
Around the AL West
Now with chart!
This is a big chance for the M’s to make up some ground on the Angels and A’s. More importantly, staying in front of the Rangers might be an even bigger accomplishment.
- The A’s are in Cleveland this weekend to take on the Indians. While the Indians are currently last in the AL Central, they’re only three games below .500, so this might not be a walk in the park for the A’s.
- The Angels are already one game deep in a four game set against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are continuing their west coast swing, but took a 6-5 loss to the Angels last night.
- The Rangers are at home for a three game set against the Blue Jays this weekend. The Jays are in the middle of a fight for the AL East right now, only 1.5 games separates the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox and Jays right now.
- Houston is at home against the White Sox right now. The Astros have fallen 11.0 games back of the A’s, 6.5 back of the M’s. That’s a lot of ground to make up.