Seattle Mariners Series Preview: v. Baltimore Orioles
By Matt Seto
The Mariners’ run production woes seem to be continuing after taking back to back losses to the Mets, scoring only three runs in two games. I’m sure we will all agree that is the first thing that needs to be stepped up as we move into the second half.
How about that Dustin Ackley grab though? (does that cheer you up a bit?)
The Orioles are in town this week as they look to extend their lead in the AL-East. This is an important series for the Mariners as they are holding a tenuous 0.5 game lead in the wild card over both the Yankees and Blue Jays (also of the AL-East). Here’s the series preview for this weekend’s matchup against the Orioles.
Game one: Wei-Yin Chen (10-3, 4.21 ERA) v. Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 2.95 ERA)
Despite a slightly elevated ERA on the season, Wei-Yin Chen has managed to notch 10 wins already. It’s no surprise though, he’s managed an outrageous amount of run support, and has yet to record a game this season where the Orioles haven’t scored at all. This favors the Mariners a bit as they are fielding Hisashi Iwakuma, known for low ERAs. Kuma went 7 deep against the Angels last week for a loss. Though, he was decent, giving up only 2 runs.
Game two: Kevin Gausman (4-3, 4.04 ERA) v. Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.02 ERA)
Gausman has been slow to find his form after returning to the rotation in June, missing a few starts in the process. His most recent start was his worst of the season, where he was chased after 4 innings and 9 hits (5 runs, all earned). He’ll need all the help he can get against King Felix, who is leading the AL in ERA right now (2.02). Felix is on 6 days rest for this game, and he’s having a career year, so there’s lots to be excited about. Get to the ballpark for this one.
Game three: Bud Norris (8-6, 3.78 ERA) v. Chris Young (8-6, 3.22 ERA)
Norris is 5-1 since June (6 starts), with his most recent one against Baltimore being one of his best. That being said, he’s pitched only 35.1 innings over those starts, and three where he didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. Meanwhile, Chris Young has made a minimum 5 innings in all but one of his starts this year (20 starts). Though he’s lost a bit of that Safeco Magic we were seeing early. Young has lost his last two home starts, and hasn’t won at home in nearly a month.
Game four: Miguel Gonzalez (5-5, 3.91 ERA) v. Roenis Elias (8-8, 4.41 ERA)
Gonzalez is rolling through July with a 1.90 ERA over 23.2 innings (3 starts), going 7.2 in his most recent game against the Angels. It’s a little bit frustrating because the Orioles are getting wins out of their whole rotation right now, as the Orioles are 9th in the MLB with 427 runs scored. It’s going to take quite the effort from Elias, who isn’t exactly hot right now (though he did manage the Mariners’ only win against the Mets this week). Elias’ ERA over June and July is nearly 5, and opponents are slugging .401 against him.
- Probably the biggest news was that Taijuan Walker was optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma after taking the loss to the Mets yesterday. The Mariners are cruising with the bullpen right now, so we suspect we won’t be seeing another pitcher called up for the corresponding move.
- With Walker out, there are some questions about who will be taking his place next week. James Paxton has been floated as a potential name. He has already made two rehab starts, and is scheduled for a third on Sunday in Tacoma.
- Robinson Cano broke up Bartolo Colon‘s perfect game yesterday, so I guess he’s earning the bucks he’s getting.
- Despite the Mariners’ recent offensive struggles, Cano is still batting .331/.388/.454 this season, making him one of the best batters we’ve seen in Seattle in a long time.
Around the AL West
It would have been really nice to take a few extra games from the Angels last weekend, but alas, I guess it wasn’t to be. The Mariners are still holding a very small lead in the Wild Card race, so these games are going to be huge.
- Oakland is in Texas this weekend for a three game set against the bottom-feeders. The Rangers are still the worst team in baseball after going 2-8 in their last 10 games.
- The Angels are hosting the Detroit Tigers for a four-gamer over the weekend. After finding some early bumps in the road, the Tigers are back on the win train and lead the AL Central by 6.5 games right now. If they can take the Angels down a few pegs it would be ideal.
- Houston is at home for some interleage play against the Marlins. (wooooo….)