May 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker (R) jokes with pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) after defeating the Minnesota Twins 6-2 at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Series Preview: At Houston Astros

The win-mobile keeps on rolling for the Mariners, who now have won three straight series and are a full 6 games over .500 on the season. Felix Hernandez is hurling absolute fire right now, and Robinson Cano is back on the home run truck. Things are looking great in the northwest right now, and there’s even more to be excited about this week. Here’s your Mariners series preview against the Houston Astros.

Matchups

Game one: Taijuan Walker (0-0, 0.00 ERA) v. Collin McHugh (4-6, 2.86 ERA)

The day has finally come, M’s fans! Taijuan Walker is making his 2014 debut after starting the season on the DL. Its been a slow road back to the MLB for Walker, who has been throwing in Tacoma for the better part of a month now, but the Mariners didn’t take any chances rushing their future ace back. This is a highly anticipated start for Tai. McHugh is having a great season in Houston for the Astros. He’s not getting as much help from the bats as he would like (there’s a surprise), but he’s kept his ERA under 3.00. McHugh is trying to avoid a fourth straight loss tonight.

Game two: Hisashi Iwakuma (5-4, 3.48 ERA) v. Jarred Cosart (8-5, 3.60 ERA)

Kuma is looking for a bounce back start after only going 4 innings and giving up 8 hits (5 runs) to the Red Sox last week at home. It was Kuma’s shortest outing on the season and he certainly didn’t look good. Hopefully Houston represents a chance to get back in the win column, as Houston is 28th in the MLB with a team batting average of only .234. Cosart is one of the bright spots in Houston this season, and in June he’s an incredible 4-1 with an ERA of only 2.60. Cosart has logged a decision in each of his last 10 starts, going 7-3.

Game three: Chris Young (7-4, 3.15 ERA) v. Brad Peacock (2-4, 4.21 ERA)

The Chris Young experiment continues to pay dividends for the Mariners. Young has now notched his 7th win of the season, which MLB notes is his highest since 2007 with the Padres. He’ll be facing Brad Peacock, who isn’t having as good of a season. Peacock hasn’t made it past 6.2 innings yet this season, after coming out of the bullpen to the rotation in mid April.

Mariners Notes

  • Obviously the biggest news here is that Tai Walker is coming back. He made his debut in Houston last year too, so maybe this will be good luck for him. Regardless, it will be nice to see him throwing in the bigs again.
  • James Paxton has been throwing bullpens in Tacoma, but it will still be a quite a while until we see him back again.
  • King Felix crushed his 10th win of the season and has been virtually unhittable in June. He’s only 1 win behind Masahiro Tanaka for the league lead (11).
  • We’re pretty much assured that Robbie Cano and the King will be representing the Mariners at the All Star Game this year, but Kyle Seager is raising some eyebrows as well. He’s been exceptionally hot in June, batting .393 over the last two weeks. Adam Lewis seems to think the MLB Players vote this weekend could see him earn a reserve spot.

 

Around the AL West

Despite the wins, the Mariners are still having problems catching the A’s and Angels. On the other hand, the M’s are keeping pace and are holding onto a wild card spot (though we’re only halfway through the season).

  • Oakland has a tough test coming up as they are in Detroit for a three game set, then come back home to face the Blue Jays, who are surprising everyone this season.
  • The Angels are off to Chicago to face the White Sox. The White Sox are riding a three game winning streak right now.
  • The Rangers are continuing to fall off. They’re in Baltimore for a 4 game series against the Orioles this week. The Rangers are 7 games back of the Mariners, and 14.5 back for the division.
  • That means they are close to getting caught by the Astros. Who are hosting the M’s this week. The Astros are only 2 games behind the Rangers right now, and I’m sure all those Houston fans would love to see the ol Texas switcheroo soon.

 

Team Games Back
Oakland A’s -
LA Angels 5.5
Seattle Mariners 7.5
Texas Rangers 14.0
Houston Astros 16.0

Tags: Seattle Mariners

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