Seattle Mariners Series Preview: v. New York Yankees
What a road trip!
To be completely honest, I was a little pessimistic after the Mariners lost the first of four games to Tampa on Friday, but boy did they bounce back. They wrapped up a 7 game road trip at 6-1 with back to back shutouts against the Rays. With those wins the M’s are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and a full 5 games over .500!
The Yankees are in town this week, and have had some trouble against the M’s so far this year. The M’s are 3-0 against the Yankees after a series in New York (split due to a rainout, the makeup game was last week). This is a good time to keep the pressure on at home. Here’s the preview.
Game one: Vidal Nuno (1-2, 5.33 ERA) v. Hisashi Iwakuma (4-2, 2.66 ERA)
This was initially touted as Tanaka v. Iwakuma, but it looks like we’re getting Nuno tonight instead after the Yankees had a rainout in KC. Nuno has a lot of no-decisions racked up already this year (9). He’s managed to get to the 7th inning only once, so don’t look for him to go deep again today. Nuno also gives up a fair share of homers (10), so lets try and get Cano to inflict some pain on the Yanks. Iwakuma is coming off of a win against the Braves where he went 7 innings and turned things over to the bullpen. Kuma has a strikeout to walk ratio of 36:4 over his 7 starts in 2014.
Game two: Masahiro Tanaka (9-1, 2.02 ERA) v. Chris Young (5-3, 3.42ERA)
We’re going to get a good look at Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday. After he was rumored to be landing in Seattle during the off-season, he ended up signing with the Yankees with a splash. Tanaka is absolutely destroying batters this year, with a league-leading 2.02 ERA. The M’s haven’t seen him yet, and as much as I love the Mariners, I think this is going to be a tough game to win. Chris Young certainly has his work cut out for him, he’ll need to keep this game as close as possible. MLB notes that Young has never lost a start at Safeco, so he’s got that going for him.
Game three: Chase Whitley (1-0, 2.42 ERA) v. Roenis Elias (5-4, 3.64 ERA)
Whitley is settling into his role with the Yanks, and he’s making his 5th career start on Thursday. He’s coming off of his first career win Friday against the Royals. He went 7 innings giving up only 2 runs. Whitley only has 26 innings of work so far this season, but his numbers look good there, he hasn’t given up a homer yet and he’s yeilded only three walks. Friday’s game was the only time he’s gone past 5 innings. Elias is on a bit of a roll coming off of a complete game shutout and a follow up win in Tampa, he’ll be gunning for three straight. Of note, Elias has 55 strikeouts in his last 9 games (59 innings), 10 of those coming off of a win against the Yankees.
- Felix Hernandez was named AL Player of the Week for last week’s performance. Felix threw a career-high 15 strikeouts in one game against the Rays this past weekend and finished the week 1-0, 1.29 ERA through two starts.
- Thursday night is Macklemore Bobblehead night at Safeco. Also, I’ll be at that game, so shoot me a tweet and come have a bobble-fest with me.
- Taijuan Walker had another rehab start on Monday in Memphis, where he went 5 innings and 77 pitches deep. I still expect at least one more rehab start from Walker for now, as Erasmo seems to have things on lockdown after coming back to take over for Brandon Maurer.
- As mentioned above, former teammates Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka were set to face off tonight, but a rainout in Kansas City pushed Tanaka to tomorrow. This might actually be the best case scenario for the Mariners, as it gives Iwakuma a better shot at a win.
- ESPN jumped the Mariners 9 spots up in the power rankings to 9th place.
- Of course, Robinson Cano gets to face the Yankees again, but this time without the New York crowd letting him hear it for leaving. It should be much more enjoyable this time around for Cano.
- Derek Jeter is doing an around-the-league farewell tour and this will be his last stop in Seattle. So before the game tonight the M’s will be holding a short ceremony to honor the future Hall of Famer.
- The Yankees are in the midst of a painful slump, going 3-7 in their last 10 games and only playing .500 baseball. This is certainly not enough for the Yankees as the Blue Jays are well clear of the rest of the AL East, a full 13 games over .500.
- The rest of New York City might be a bit distracted right now as the Rangers are in the Stanley Cup finals, (though they’re down 3-0).
- Former Mariner reliever Shawn Kelly is making rehab starts for the Yankees, and looks to be back in the majors shortly.
Around the AL West
The Mariners have certainly been hot, but they still can’t quite catch the Angels, who are still a game ahead of them in the west, riding a 4 game win streak of their own.
- Oakland is in LA to take on the Angels this week, they lost last night, but the best we can hope for is a split in the series to prevent either team from getting too far ahead.
- The Rangers continue to struggle and are now below .500 on the season. They’re at home for a quick two-game interleague set against the Marlins this week.
- Houston (sigh), is still well back in the west. They’re in the middle of a home-and-home four gamer against the Diamondbacks.