Seattle Mariners Series Preview: at Boston Red Sox
By Matt Seto
Here’s a short list of things I like:
That pretty much covers it (though the order may vary depending on who is reading).
Luckily for me, it’s Felix day! The Mariners continue their east-coast swing in Boston this weekend as they attempt to make up for their poor showing in Philly. I’m not going to say I’m disappointed about losing that series, but I will say that the M’s definitely left some runs out there. Also, James Paxton took his first MLB loss, so that monkey is finally off his back.
As the M’s head to Boston they’re still 0.5 games behind the Tigers for that second wild card spot. So yet again, this is a super important series for the Mariners to take. All the other wild card contenders are falling back, so capitalizing on the opportunity is the name of the game.
The Red Sox are dead last in the AL East, a full 6.0 games behind the Rays. This is a very winnable series for the Mariners, espeicially with the pitching they’ve got lined up. Here’s your Mariners series preview for this weekend’s matchup against the Red Sox.
Game one: Felix Hernandez (13-4, 1,99 ERA) v. Joe Kelly (2-3, 4.67 ERA)
Felix finally had that 7+ innings/2 or fewer runs streak come to an end last week in Detroit. Making the outting his worst since May. Which is an incredible accomplishment. Felix faced the Red Sox back in June where he went 7.0 with 6 hits and 2 ER. In that start he gave up one of only 3 home runs during his streak. Even with his shortened outing last week, Felix still leads the league in ERA, ERA+ WHIP and Hits/9.
Joe Kelly is still in search of his first win in the AL. The sophmore pitcher was shelled against Houston in his last start where he gave up 2 homers for 7 runs in only 4.0 innings. Fenway doesn’t agree with Kelly yet. Since he’s coming from the NL (the Cardinals), Kelly will be facing the Mariners for the first time. A tall order for a team that can put lots of runs on the board if they’re hot.
Game two: Chris Young (12-6, 3.07 ERA) v. Brandon Workman (1-7, 4.26 ERA)
Chris Young has now tied his career high for wins in a season (12 when he was with the Rangers way back in 2005). Its the kind of thing they make movies about. His last start in Detroit was one of his better starts this season, where he gave up only 4 hits through 6.0 innings. Young has been gaining some serious momentum and he’s winning on the road now too (he’s not just a Safeco guy!). Young is in search of his 5th straight win.
The Red Sox will be starting yet another sophmore pitcher in Brandon Workman. Workman started the season in the Pen but was brought out at the end of May to fill out the rotation. Since then he’s been pretty soft. Workman has posted nothing but losses since June 27th. Not even a no decision. He was called into a game in LA a few weeks ago to pitch the 19th inning in a marathon against the Angels. Workman faced one batter and gave up a walkoff home run. So that can’t be good for his confidence.
Game three: Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57 ERA) v. Allen Webster (3-1, 4.73 ERA)
Kuma is riding a hot streak right now, as he’s in search of his 4th straight win. Moreover, Kuma is 7-2 with a no-decision in his last 10 starts. His last start was arguably one of the best of his career. He went 8.0 innings of shutout ball while striking out a season high 11 batters in a win over the Phillies. After missing the first month of the season, Kuma has caught up with the rest of the rotation at 12 wins.
Webster is the only Red Sox pitcher the Mariners are facing with a winning record. Yet again its a young guy in only his second season in the MLB. The rebuild is underway in Boston. After some trouble against the Yankees earlier in August, Webster has settled down and gone 6 innings in his last three starts (2-0). Webster is currently holding a WHIP of 1.463 and ERA closing in on 5, which means the Mariners should be able to at least push a few runs across. Which was a bit of an issue in Philly.
- This weekend the Mariners are throwing the same starters at Boston that they fielded against the Toronto Blue Jays only two short weeks ago. For those of you who don’t remember, the M’s went 3-0 and swept the Jays that series, giving up only 4 runs to the heavy-hitting Jays.
- For you Mariners fans in Boston, keep an eye open for Charlie, as he’s promised to be the loudest M’s fan at Fenway this weekend. His latest post was titled “can the M’s make noise in Boston?”, but what he really meant was “How loud can I be in Boston?”
- The Mariners now have three starters with 12 wins, the King, Kuma and Chris Young all have 12 on the season, which is a huge reason we have seen some success for the season.
- The Red Sox are dead last in the AL in runs scored with only 483 but Seattle isn’t much farther ahead at 499. The difference is being made up in pitching though, as the M’s are a full 1 run better than the Sox in ERA (Seattle: 2.93, Bos: 3.91).
- The Sox are also riding a 5 game losing streak right now after enduring a painful 4 game sweep at home against the Angels.
Wild Card Roundup
The Yankees and Blue Jays are falling back in the Wild Card race, so for now it’s a two dog-show between the Mariners and Tigers. The M’s are holding on only a half game back of the Tigers, but this should be a good opportunity to gain some ground against an opponent on the way down. Though, the Phillies managed to surprise us too.
Of note, the A’s are 2-8 in their last 10, and are now 2.0 games back of the Angels for first in the AL West, only 6.0 ahead of the Mariners. It’s a lot of ground to make up in the last month of the season, but if trends continue the M’s have an outside shot at taking second in the west.
- The A’s and Angels are duking it out in LA this weekend, which has some serious implications as described above. Best case for the Mariners here might be for the Angels to trounce the A’s and have them drop even farther back in the standings (feel free to disagree with me in the comments).
- The Tigers have a great opportunity this weekend as they play the Twins in a four-game series. Saturday will be a day-night doubleheader to make up a rainout from back in late April. The Twins are dead last in the AL Central.
- The Yankees are at home against the White Sox for a three-gamer. The Orioles are virtually un-catchable in the AL East now, meaning the Yanks and Jays are going to have to fight out for second. Both teams are falling apart though, as the Yankees are 3-7 in their last 10 (Jays 4-6).
- Those same Blue Jays are at home to face the Rays, who have a chance to catch both the Jays and Yankees in the AL East. The Rays are 3.0 back of both teams and have a bunch of divisonal games coming up to go into September.
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