Aug 22, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Bring Firepower, Pitching to Their Series at Safeco

After a disappointing series loss to the bottom feeding Texas Rangers, the Mariners play host to a dominant Washington Nationals team for the weekend series. It’s interleague, meaning the Nats don’t come to town very often which makes it different and exciting, but also dangerous for an M’s squad in the thick of the AL Wild-Card race.

MATCHUPS:

Game One: Felix Hernandez (13-4, 2.07 ERA) v. Jordan Zimmerman (9-5, 2.93 ERA)

Edge? Felix.

Manager Lloyd McClendon made a conscious decision to push Felix’s start back, which led to Erasmo Ramirez pitching against Texas and giving up 10 earned runs. If Felix doesn’t lead the M’s to victory in game 1, it would seem the Mariners gave a crucial game away for no good reason. Zimmerman has been good this season, but Felix is still King in the American League.

Game Two: Chris Young (12-6, 3.17 ERA) v. Stephen Strasburg (10-10, 3.59 ERA)

Edge? Tossup.

Strasbourg is one of the premier young arms in the Major Leagues, but he hasn’t been altogether dominant in 2014. Though win-loss records shouldn’t account for too much, it is odd to see him with a .500 record on a team so far over .500. Chris Young has been a resurgent revelation this season, but again, the M’s need to be wary of some late season regression.

Game Three: Hisashi Iwakuma (23-6, 2.83 ERA) v. Tanner Roark (12-8, 2.81 ERA)

Edge? ‘Kuma.

Roark has been as professional as young pitchers can get these days, providing serious depth to the Nationals rotation. ‘Kuma has been as good as always, with the occasional blip game on the radar. Of the three this is the biggest tossup, but I give the veteran Iwakuma the nod against a younger pitcher.

 

Wild-Card Standings:

Oakland Athletics: +5.5 games

Seattle Mariners: 0 games

Detroit Tigers: 0 games

New York Yankees: -3.0 games

Cleveland Indians: -4.0 games.

As of today it really looks to be a two horse race for that 2nd Wild Card spot in the American League. Unfortunately the Ms have one of the toughest months of September in baseball, playing 13 games against the Angels and the Athletics. It provides ample opportunity to jump in the standings, but one brutal series could drop them entirely out of the playoff hunt.

The Angels and Athletics play three more games this weekend after the Angels beat the A’s last night 3 t0 4. The Rangers and Astros are in the middle of a long weekend series as well. The Tigers are visiting the Chicago White Sox, and the Yankees are on a trip to Canada for the weekend.

 

Tags: Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners

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