Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Three! Three straight series wins! It doesn’t get much better than that to snap an 8-game skid! The Mariners didn’t look spectacular in Houston this weekend, there were a few miscues, and quite frankly, games shouldn’t be that close against Houston. But a win is a win, and we’ll take it and move on. With those wins, the M’s are within striking distance to the AL West, and they’re in Oakland this week to take on the current leaders in a four game set. Here’s the Mariners series preview.
Chris Young finally got the run support he needed in his last start against the Yankees. It’s been a rough year for Young, who has pitched well enough to have more than one win, but quiet bats have killed him. Last time Young faced the A’s he threw 6 innings of shutout ball. Kazmir has been on fire though. The A’s have won each of his 6 appearances so far, and he’s gone at least 5 innings in all of those appearances. His most recent start against the Rangers was his roughest (if you can call it that), where he went 5 innings and yielded 3 earned runs.
How about Roenis Elias? He ran straight through a dangerous Yankee lineup last week and showed us what he’s really made of. He had been struggling a little bit before that, but he hopped right back on the horse. It helps too that the bats awoke for Elias and drove in a few runs and gave him a lead. More impressively he cranked out 10 strikeouts against one of the premiere batting lineups in the league. Chavez has been just as dominant as Kazmir this season, and he is coming off of a 7 inning, 1 hit outing in Texas last week. His k/bb ratio is a stunning 41/8 so far this season.
Game three: TBA v. TBA
This is the first game of a double header and the pitchers haven’t been announced yet, though the rumor is that Erasamo Ramirez might make an appearance.
Game four: Felix Hernandez(3-1, 2.53 ERA) v. TBA
Game two of the double header is likely to feature Felix, who has had some frustrating outings lately. He started the season so hot, but then the wheels fell off for him. The M’s have lost his last 4 starts (though Felix was only charged with one of those losses). In each of those losses the Mariners mustered 4 or fewer runs. So we can’t pin this entirely on pitching.
- The Mariners are only one win shy of .500, so that would be considered an accomplishment.
- Abraham Almonte was sent back to Tacoma yesterday, much to the chagrin of many Mariners fans. The corresponding move should be coming later today, but there is some speculation that it will be James Jones.
- MLB.com is expecting Erasmo Ramirez to make one of the double header starts, he has made two starts in the minors since being sent down and will likely be recalled for the day.
- The Fernando Rodney experience is often frustrating to watch, but this week he had a first. He made his first 4 out save and held onto a 9-8 win for the M’s. (Let’s ignore the fact that they blew a 9-2 lead though)
- You know what, let’s not. The M’s blew back to back leads against the Astros over the weekend, and that type of behavior simply needs to stop. They blew a 9-2 and a 7-4 lead and it was a miracle they held onto both wins.
- Last season’s closer, Danny Farquhar, made his first appearance and save this weekend in Houston. It was a painful experience to watch, but it’s hard to argue with the result.
- Oakland slugger Josh Reddick is day to day with a sprained ankle, though neither the team nor Reddick are claiming it’s anything serious. Keeping him out of the lineup would be a plus for the M’s though.
- There is speculation that reliever Drew Pomeranz could be used as a starter for one of the double-header games on Wednesday. He’s made 9 appearances so far for 13.2 innings and is sporting a 1.98 ERA.
- The A’s are coming off of an extra innings win against Boston, which is bound to be a motivation boost. It would be nice if the Mariners could also win those late inning games.
Around the AL West
Obviously the M’s are in Oakland this week. The M’s are only 4 games back of first in the AL West to those same A’s, so if they could (miraculously) pull off a sweep this week they’d be tied for first in the west, an impressive prospect.
- The Rangers have a 4 game home-and-home against the Colorado Rockies this week, the Rockies are 19-14 and second in the NL West, so there is a chance for the Mariners to make up some ground here if they can solve the A’s.
- Houston is taking on the Tigers in Detroit this week. They’re a full 5 games back of the Mariners right now, so even with a sweep they couldn’t catch up.