May 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) delivers to the plate against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Gameday Preview: Happy Felix Day!

Initial Thoughts:

The Mariners did what they needed to do in game 1 of this 11-game homestand: win. Saunders drove in the go ahead runs in the 7th and the Mariners didn’t look back after Fernando Rodney had a *gasp* quiet AND efficient 9th inning.

As Matt noted in the series preview, these four against the Astros and the next four against the 2nd place Angels are crucial for the Mariners to prove themselves legitimate.

Can the King maintain his throne tonight?

Game Info:

Seattle Mariners: 23-23. Last 10: (4-6).

Houston Astros 17-31. Last 10: (5-5).

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

 

May 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino (3) and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) walk to the dugout at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

May 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino (3) and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) walk to the dugout at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

MATCHUPS:

Pitching:

Seattle Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez (5-1, 2.94 ERA) v. Houston Astros RHP Brad Peacock (1-4, 5.20 ERA)

EDGE: Felix. After a handful of shaky starts over the last month– and I mean shaky by Felix standards– Felix started to settle a bit in his last outing against the Twins. He remains one of the top-5 pitchers in baseball, and in the confines of Safeco should see success against this strikeout happy Astros squad.

Potential Lineups:

Mariners:

James Jones 8

Michael Saunders 9

Robinson Cano 4

Justin Smoak 3

Kyle Seager 5

Dustin Ackley 7

Nick Franklin DH

Mike Zunino 2

Brad Miller 6

Of Note: the M’s only managed 6 hits as a team last night, however they were patient at the plate and netted 6 walks. If they start consistently showing that kind of patience night in and night out, they should be winning a lot more of these close ballgames.

Astros:

Jose Altuve 4

Dexter Fowler 8

Matt Dominguez 5

Jason Castro 2

Chris Carter DH

Jesus Guzman 3

L.J. Hoes 7

Jonathan Villar 6

Alex Presley 9

Of Note: The Astros were held to a mere 4 hits last night by the Mariners pitching staff while striking out 11 times. It won’t get any easier tonight for them with King Felix’s deadly change-up.

 

Other Notes:

Rumors are swirling that both the Mariners and the Rangers may be interested in the services of one Kendrys Morales. After Stephen Drew was re-signed by the Red Sox, it looks as if desperate teams are giving Morales a hard look. Keep your eye here for developments.

 

Final Thoughts:

Felix will be Felix. Maybe the M’s will score a lot of runs, but I have a feeling that this could be one of those 2-1, or 3-2 games that Felix takes over and wills the M’s to victory.

Score Prediction:

Mariners 3, Astros 1.

 

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