Seattle Mariners: Top 5 Things to Watch This Weekend

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1. The Potential For Offense

Apr 17, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter

Robinson Cano

(22) bats in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday’s game in Texas turned out to be a slugfest, with both starters, Erasmo Ramirez and Tanner Scheppers, being knocked out before finishing the third inning. While all of the M’s runs came in that third inning, they were able to put up six of them, against both Scheppers and Hector Noesi. That, and their 10 hits and five walks on the game may suggest the offense is starting to creep back toward where they were at the beginning of the year, and away from their recent, shutout-prone ways.

This series looks like a good match for more of the same from the M’s, in a relatively hitter friendly environment against some hitter friendly pitching. The M’s will matchup against Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Kevin Slowey, none of which figure to dominate if things go as expected for their respective talents.

On the year, the three have done the following:

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As you can see, the last starter of the series, Slowey, will be making his first start of the season, having pitched like a back-ender at best in three relief appearances. Alvarez has pitched about on par with Slowey in his first three starts, so he also doesn’t figure to be a huge threat if his success so far this season is any indication.

Tonight’s hurler, in the form of Nathan Eovaldi, could present a problem however. While his ERA to this point isn’t very good, his dominant FIP of 2.07 suggests some positive regression in the run prevention department.

He has struck out just under nine batters per nine innings, while walking under a half a batter per game. The walks are also due for regression, and the strikeouts too to a lesser extent, but if he continues pitching as well as FIP says he has to this point, the M’s offense could have a tough time.

The M’s have the 11th highest K-rate and 9th lowest BB-rate to this point on the year, so going up against a guy who has been especially good at inducing or preventing those things respectively could exacerbate the problem.

However, on the whole, offense doesn’t figure to be at a premium in this series, but that likely extends to both sides. The Mariners will run out Chris Young, the most extreme fly-ball pitcher in the league, Brandon Maurer, who was knocked around a lot last year and will make his first appearance of the year, and Roenis Elias, who’s 4.27 xFIP suggests he should be giving up more runs than his current 2.19 mark.