Seattle Mariners Series Preview: at Miami Marlins
By Matt Seto
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
It’s time for interleague play! This is the first interleague series of the season and it’s an important series for the Seattle Mariners. After losing their early lead in the AL-West, the M’s have a chance to make up some ground this weekend when they visit Miami. The Marlins have been pretty bad recently, and so far this season is no exception. The Mariners should look to make up some ground this weekend while Texas plays the Chicago White Sox, who are playing .500 ball right now. Unfortunately it might be tough to make up ground on the red-hot Oakland A’s, as they’re playing Houston in a three game set.
Game one: (Chris Young, 0-0, ERA 0.00 v. Nathan Eovaldi, 1-1, ERA 4.19)
Chris Young is rolling through the first few starts of the season. The veteran (read: old) starter hasn’t allowed a run yet this season through 8 innings of work. Most notably, he went 6 scoreless against the AL-Leading Oakland A’s last week. Look for him to keep rolling through a Miami lineup that hasn’t had a lot of success so far this season. Nathan Eovaldi has had some success in three starts this season, but lack of offense has kept him to one win (something us Mariners fans know a lot about). Eovaldi has already racked up 19 Ks this year, and notably his 100th pitch in last Saturday’s game hit 98 MPH on the radar gun. The guy’s got some heat.
Game two: (Roenis Elias, 1-1, ERA 2.16 v. Henderson Alvarez, 0-2, ERA 4.30)
Roenis Elias is slowly emerging as one of the fan favorites this young season. He notched his first career MLB win on Monday night when the Mariners routed the Rangers en route to a 7-1 victory. Elias has gone at least 5 innings in his first three starts, and he’s getting a lot of ground balls in the process (21 in his last 2 games), so look for him to continue to get those double plays. On the other hand, I saw him get lucky and hang a couple breaking balls dead-center this week too. Henderson Alvarez is off to a slow start this year, he only went three deep in his first start of the season, and has been knocked around for a WHIP of over 2 over his first three starts. Last season’s no-hitter is a distant memory now and the Mariners should try to capitalize on a slow start from a usually solid right-hander.
Game three: (TBA v. Kevin Slowey, 0-0, ERA 4.38)
This was Blake Bevan’s slot on Tuesday night, so we’ll see what Lloyd McClendon wants to do after he got hit around and only went 4 innings (and subsequently went on the DL). Kevin Slowey on the other hand is getting his first start of the season after making four appearances in relief so far in 2014. Slowey has already thrown 58 pitches on two different occasions this year, and wants to battle back to the starting role he had in Minnesota. His best game was 4 innings of shutout ball almost three weeks ago, it’s been downhill ever since.
Nick Franklin made his way back to the big club on Wednesday, so we’re bound to see some lineup juggling. Robinson Cano hit DH yesterday in Texas so that Franklin could play second. Expect to see Corey Hart stay in the lineup too after a decent showing in right field and a homer Thursday afternoon.
Taijuan Walker had a setback and missed a start in Tacoma with a shoulder impingement. This is bad news for a Mariners club that keeps losing pitchers, Walker won’t be back until May at the earliest.
On the other hand, last season’s Cy Young runner up Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to throw a virtual game this weekend in Miami. After his last session in Arlington he was able to throw all his pitches and reports are that he’s really excited to get started again. Hopefully we can see him pitch before the month is out.
Corey Hart took his first start in right field on Thursday afternoon, and looked pretty good doing it. He made a few great catches including an over-the-shoulder backhand and a diving grab in short right, each for the out. He also went 2 for 3 with a homer and two walks, so that could be considered good too.
Hart’s homer came right after Robison Cano broke his streak of homerless games with a no doubt line drive over the right field wall in the top of the third. This is Cano’s first homer as a Mariner and his first in 29 games (last was September 11, 2013).