Sep 18, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Series Preview: at Baltimore Orioles

It’s time for a rematch!

The Mariners, hot off of their Trade-deadline antics, are going to see the Orioles again for the second set in less than a week. After dropping 3-of-4 to the O’s at home last week, some redemption is in order.

There’s plenty to be excited about this time around, now that A-Jax and Paxton are back in town. Also, with yesterday’s comeback win the Mariners are now only 3 games back of the Blue Jays for that second wild card spot. (The Jays are blazing hot right now, but they’ll come down eventually…right?).

These series are getting more and more important as we enter August. Here’s your Mariners Series Preview for this weekend’s set against the Orioles.

 

Matchups

Game one: Roenis Elias (8-8, 4.31 ERA) v Wei-Yin Chen (11-3, 3.92 ERA)

Roenis Elias hasn’t been absolutely terrible this season. He’s shown flashes of brilliance in his rookie campaign, and he’s battled back to 8-8. His July starts have left a lot to be desired though. He’s thrown only 18.2 innings over those 4 starts, including 13 earned runs and 23 hits.

He’s in for a rough ride against Chen, who is having a fantastic season. As I mentioned last week, Chen has been able to notch 11 wins thanks to the tremendous run support he’s been getting (avg. of 5.30 runs/game, Roenis has been getting 3.59). Chen is coming off of an 8-inning game where he allowed only 5 hits and no runs (against none other than our Seattle Mariners).

Game two: James Paxton (2-0, 2.25 ERA) v. Miguel Gonzalez (5-5, 3.77 ERA)

The boy is back! Paxton hasn’t pitched since the home opener, where he went 5+ innings and left with an oblique injury. It’s been a long road to recovery for Paxton, who kept getting shut down from his rehab.

But he’s back and I am so excited to see what he’s got. He’s in for a tough go against the Orioles, who are 10th in runs scored this season (452). Miguel Gonzalez threw a great game last weekend against the M’s at Safeco. He went 6.0 innings giving up only 1 run. That said, the Mariners were in a bit of an offensive slide, and hopefully yesterday’s home run comeback sparks something.

Game three: Hisashi Iwakuma (9-5, 3.06 ERA) v. Chris Tillman (7-5, 3.97 ERA)

Kuma gave us something to be excited about when he rolled into Cleveland and took the win in the series opener. Kuma has been having a great July, where he’s gone 4-1 in 6 starts. His worst outting in that stretch was against the Orioles though. He went 7.0 innings giving up 7 hits and 4 runs.

The M’s were shut out 4-0 in that game. Tillman has been having a moderate season. He was the one starter that the Mariners didn’t face at home last week. Tillman has chalked up 5 no-decisions in 6 starts in July.

 

Series Notes

  • Austin Jackson is the biggest thing in Mariners news right now. It will be great to see a tested and true centerfielder out there, but moreover a guy at the top of the lineup in front of Robinson Cano and Kendrys Morales.
  • Lloyd Mclendon, having come over from Detroit, obviously knows Austin Jackson quite well, and I’m sure he was instrumental in the final decision to bring the new outfielder to Seattle.
  • Chris Denorfia is also a new kid in town, while it remains to be seen what the defensive lineup will be, I expect to see him play a few games before Lloyd makes a definite decision on how he wants to field his team.
  • Baltimore was fairly quiet at the trade deadline, though they did pick up a reliever in Andrew Miller. Miller has put up a WHIP of 0.90 this season in Boston.
  • As I alluded to before, the Orioles score a decent amount of runs, 452 on the season. Whereas the Mariners are struggling to score at only 414 (25th in the league). That being said, the Mariners have the lowest team ERA in the league at 3.08. (Baltimore: 3.71).
  • Chris Davis has been sidelined in Baltimore for the last three games due to illness. He was available on the bench last night, but Buck Showalter wasn’t taking any chances. It’s expected that he’ll make at least one appearance this weekend against the M’s.

 

Wild Card Race

I’ve taken out the AL-West notes here and I’ve replaced it with the Wild Card Notes. As you can guess, the A’s and Angels are killing it, the M’s are on the fence, and the Rangers and Astros stink.

The wild card race, however, is heating up. The Mariners held that second spot for quite some time before dropping back in their post All-Star Break slump, but are still only 3.0 games back of the Blue Jays, who are on a 6 game winning streak. As of now, the Angels are 5.5 games up, and won’t be caught soon, but behind them there are 4 teams within 3.5 games of the spot.

Team Games Back
LA Angels +5.5
Toronto Blue Jays -
Seattle Mariners 3.0
NY Yankees 3.5
KC Royals 3.5
  • The Angels are in Tampa Bay for a weekend set with the Rays. The Rays are having a terrible year, but they’ve managed to go 8-2 in their last 10 and are throwing a wrench in the AL-East.
  • The Blue Jays are in for a soft series this weekend in Houston to face the Astros.
  • The Mariners are in Baltimore.
  • The AL-East is tight this season, and the Yankees are off to Boston to take on the Red Sox. The Sox are in the midst of a skid post All-Star-Break, they’re 5-8 since the midsummer classic.
  • KC is in for a rough weekend as they’re headed to Oakland to take on the A’s. The A’s, after picking up Jon Lester, look to have one of the toughest rotations in baseball right now (second only to Detroit).

 

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