Aug 17, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor (1) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Series Preview: At Philadelphia Phillies

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There aren’t any ways I can imagine the last few weeks of baseball being any better. Now is the optimal time for the Mariners to get hot, as they have a tough September schedule ahead of them. The wild card race is beginning to get drawn out as the Blue Jays and Yankees are having trouble keeping up with the M’s. The Mariners are currently riding a 4-series win streak and are now headed to the Northeast to face some of the softer teams on the east coast. First up is another interleague matchup in Philly. Here’s your Mariners series preview for this week’s series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Matchups

Game one: Roenis Elias (9-9, 4.14 ERA) v. Jerome Williams (2-5, 6.43 ERA)

This is Elias’ first MLB start since August 7th against the White Sox. Elias was briefly down in Tacoma after his spot in the rotation was skipped last time around. Last week in Tacoma, Elias threw 5 innings of no-hit ball. He’s being limited on innings from here on out to protect the rookie’s arm. Elias hasn’t thrown more than 5 innings since June.

Jerome Williams is making his second start as a Philly tonight, as he was recently acquired from the Rangers (who got him from Houston only a week prior). Williams has done a fair bit of travelling this season as he searches for a place to close out his career. The Mariners have seen Williams three times this season as a reliever with Houston. In those appearances he gave up 6 hits, 4 runs over only 7.0 innings of relief work.

Game two: Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 2.72 ERA) v. A.J. Burnett (6-13, 4.35 ERA)

Kuma pitched 6.2 innings of shutout ball against the Blue Jays at home last week en route to a series sweep, the first time he was shut down earlier than 7.0 innings since July 1st. Kuma will be in search of his third straight win, something he’s already done twice this season.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is A.J. Burnett, who is having some mighty, mighty struggles this season. Burnett is in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, including a start in Washington where he was chased after only 1.2 innings. Back on July 23rd, Burnett threw 131 pitches against the Giants (including a rain delay). It was the second most pitches of his 16 year career.

Game three: James Paxton (3-0, 2.20 ERA) v. Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.44 ERA)

Paxton held his own against a dangerous Tigers offense over the weekend going 6.0 and yielding only 1 run. MLB continues to point out that Paxton has never lost a MLB start in his short career, though most of this season has been spent on the DL, and he only emerged at the end of 2013. Interestingly, Paxton has never thrown more than 100 pitches in an MLB game (99 twice this year).

Hamels has been on a bit of a tear through July and August, having gone 6 straight starts of 7+ innings and 1 or fewer runs allowed. (Though nobody is better than the King this year). Hamels was smacked in San Francisco over the weekend giving up 9 hits and 3 runs, including a homer. Hamels has been eating up innings this season and is already over 150 on the season.

 

Series Notes

  • The Mariners are 7-7 in interleague play so far this season, despite outscoring their opponents 47-44 over those 14 games.
  • Michael Saunders took a few days off of his rehab stint for paternity leave, but is now back in Tacoma to continue his comeback. According to Lloyd McClendon, there’s no reason to shake things up right now with the team, and Saunders doesn’t need to rush back.
  • Ben Revere is currently making a run at the NL Batting title, according to the Phillies anyways. While he’s had some serious injury troubles, Revere is currently batting .314, only second in the NL behind leader Justin Morneau (.323).
  • That said, the Phillies have been having a rough season, going 12-17 since the All-Star Break. The Phillies are 16 games below .500 and are dead last in the NL East.

 

Wild Card Roundup

The Wild Card race is spreading out a bit now that the Blue Jays have fallen back and the Yankees are having a hard time keeping up with the Mariners. The Indians are playing .500 ball right now and are maintaining their spot 5.0 games back.

The real challenge for the M’s right now is to stay on the gas pedal. After taking back to back series against their closest wild card competition, they need to keep the wins coming and keep the pressure on the Tigers and Jays. While the A’s and Angels continue to duke it out atop the AL West, there’s a chance the M’s can catch them if they keep the wins coming. All of those divisional games in September are going to be fantastic viewing.

  • The A’s are hosting the Mets for a quick two game interleague series against the Mets. The Mets are 7.0 games back of the NL Wild Card, so they still have a shot, but they’re going to need to pull it together very, very soon.
  • The Mariners are in Philly
  • The Tigers are off to Tampa to take on the Rays, who recently lost a series to the Yankees. The Rays are in prime position to play spoiler as August winds down; as they play the Tigers before taking off to play the Blue Jays and Orioles.
  • The Yankees are hosting the Astros for a three game series in New York this week. The Astros are holding a 3.5 game lead over the Rangers right now for worst team in the MLB.

 

Team Games Back
Oakland A’s +5.5
Seattle Mariners -
Detroit Tigers 0.5
NY Yankees 3.5
Toronto Blue Jays 4.0
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Tags: Seattle Mariners

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