Seattle Mariners Series Preview v. Toronto Blue Jays
By Matt Seto
If there was any series this year that you should be interested in THIS IS IT.
The Mariners are right in the middle of a dog-fight for that second Wild Card spot in the AL. Their recent series win over the White Sox was instrumental in staying in the mix, but this week’s three game series against the Blue Jays is going to be a doozie. The Jays have had their share of struggles in the last weeks, but taking a 19 inning win yesterday against Detroit might be the morale boost the team needed to get back on track. The Mariners need to capitalize on a Felix start and stomp that out. Smells like good times brewing in Seattle today. Here’s your Mariners series preview for their three game matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Game one: Drew Hutchison (8-9, 4.39 ERA) v. Felix Hernandez (12-3, 1.97 ERA)
Drew Hutchison is coming off of one of his best starts this season. He pitched 8.2 for the win against Baltimore (the only Jays win in the series). Giving up only one run on a homer by Chris Davis. When he’s off he’s quite bad though, he’s failed to make it out of the 4th inning 5 times this season, each time giving up 6 runs in the first half of the game.
There’s not much left to say about Felix this season. Felix is now sporting a 1.97 ERA on the season (AL Best), and is also leading the league in ERA+, FIP, WHIP and H9. He’s dominant right now. This is the best stuff we’ve seen from him in a few years, and he’s got the bats to back him up now. The King is still on that streak of 7+ innings pitched with 2 or fewer earned runs, he’ll be going for his 16th tonight.
Game two: J.A. Happ (8-6, 4.09 ERA) v. Chris Young (10-6, 3.27 ERA)
Happ threw an absolute gem of a game in Baltimore last weekend (8.0 IP, 12 K, 2 ER), but was stymied by a lack of offense and took the loss. The first time he has topped 12 Ks in a night. His ERA is a bit high on the season, but MLB notes that he’s gotten it down to 1.71 since the All-Star break.
Chris Young is back on his home turf and looking to keep the ball rolling. Young notched his second straight home win against the Braves last week (he’s now 7-3 at Safeco this season). This is also the first time Young has made a 10 win season since 2006 with the Padres, when he went 11-5. It’s only August, meaning Young could be looking at a career season.
Game three: R.A. Dickey (9-11, 3.99 ERA) v. Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6, 2.86 ERA)
Former Cy-Young winner and knuckleballer RA Dickey is back in Seattle for the start on Wednesday. You may recall Dickey was briefly a Mariner in 2008 before adopting the knuckleball. As with any knuckler, Dickey is hot or cold. But he certainly seems to be getting hit a lot this season. His WHIP is sitting at 1.285 right now, his highest since 2009.
On the flip-side, Kuma is currently rolling a WHIP of below 1 (0.975), his lowest in his three MLB seasons. He is currently on a bit of a streak of his own, going the last 7 games a minimum of 7.0 innings. He’s eating up innings this season and looks like he’ll be close to 200 innings even after missing all of April with a ligament problem in his throwing hand. Kuma took a win against the Sox this past weekend.
- The Mariners pushed King Felix’s start from Sunday to make sure he would face the Jays. Starting Kuma, King and Young this week at home is pretty much the best case scenario for the Mariners right now, who should be viewing this as their most important series of the season.
- The Blue Jays are a true AL Powerhouse team, currently 5th in runs scored (538), 2nd in homers (138), and 3rd in OPS (.753). Run support is going to be the key to the series for the Mariners.
- Tonight the King’s court is back in session, and the first 30,000 fans are also taking in a yellow K towel to get the party started.
- Admittedly, I’ve always been a Jays fan, so this is a very, very tough series for me. But I can’t help but get swept up in the excitement of a Mariners season that has kept me on the edge of my seat since April. For the first time ever, I’ll be cheering against the Jays (What has Seattle done to me??)
- Austin Jackson is already making a statement after being acquired at the trade deadline. His bat provided all the Mariners’ offense yesterday with 4 RBIs. Logan Morrison is also turning it up right now as he’s riding an 11-game hit streak.
- Luckily for the M’s, Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion is still on the DL, but he’s expected to begin some rehab starts this week. We shouldn’t be seeing his bat at Safeco this week.
- Adam Lind on the other hand, should be back sometime this week after suffering a broken foot way back on July 7th. CBS is reporting he could be back tonight. Before his injury, Lind was batting .320/.389/.489, with 4 HRs and 27 RBIs.
Wild Card Roundup
I can’t understate how important this series is going to be for both the Jays and Mariners. It’s getting down to crunch time, and the M’s know it. They’re pulling out all the stops and putting their absolute best out this week.
In the mean time, the Royals are riding a 7 game winning streak and have taken over the second Wild Card spot, only 4.5 behind the Angels, while the Indians lost their series in New York this weekend dropping them to 5.0 games back. The Jays, Mariners and Yankees continue to duke it out as they try to catch the red-hot Royals. All in all, every team in the hunt has a tough, tough week ahead of them.
- Interleague is the name of the game for the Angels this week as they host the Phillies in a two-game set. The Phillies are dead last in the NL East, a full 12 games below .500
- The Royals are in for a tough week as they host the Oakland A’s in a four-game set this week. The Royals are hot right now, but a long series against the best team in the AL might knock them down a few pegs.
- The Mariners and Jays are showing down in Seattle this week.
- The Yankees don’t have it easy either, as they are headed to Baltimore to face the AL East leading Orioles.
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