Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
It hasn’t been the greatest week for the Seattle Mariners. You would think that returning home would be a great boost to team moral and help aid the team in the playoff run. But that simply hasn’t been the case.
The Mariners lost two of three games to the last place Texas Rangers this week, and are now on the verge of being swept by the Washington Nationals. If they can’t pull off the win today, it will be their fourth straight loss. Not the performance you need when you are in a playoff run.
The good news, is that the other teams in the wild card race are also in the middle of a losing crisis. The Detroit Tigers won a few which put them a game over Seattle in the wildcard race, but the Kansas City Royals lost so many games that they are now tied with Detroit for the lead in the AL Central position.
The best part, is the Royals could lose more games to the point where the Mariners bypass them in the second wild card spot. This looks to be the most realistic end result. The Royals had a great run but look to be falling apart when it counts the most.
Many can say that same scenario is currently happening to the Mariners. The offense can’t seem to hit water even if they fell out of a boat, and even Felix Hernandez is starting to serve up softballs allowing five home runs in his last start.
Even though we had a terrible week, we still have twenty eight more games to play. That’s the glory of a 162 game season. You have time to make up for the losses that will happen. The Mariners are only trailing by one game in the wildcard race, and have the time to turn it back on.
September is full of opponents looking to also make the push into the playoffs. The time for winning couldn’t be more crucial for the Mariners right now, and making sure our players have great performances is the secret ingredient. Let’s take a look at those players that will make a mark this week in fantasy baseball.
Last week we talked about how stellar the bullpen has been, and we expect the same results the remainder of the year. The Mariners offense just hasn’t been the greatest (to say the least). Time after time we see the starter go deep into the innings with a low scoring game, or even a tie. By the time the bullpen takes over, that relief pitcher has the opportunity to get the Win if the mariners score late in game.
Dominic Leone was the random winner this past Sunday against the Boston Red Sox. It’s hard to gamble the bullpen in fantasy baseball, but picking up the seventh or eight inning relief pitcher for your fantasy squad could steal you a couple wins to round out your season.
This week we expect at least two wins to be grabbed by the bullpen again. The Mariners are back on the road facing the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers where they typically have great success. Below are the fantasy projections for the league’s best relief pitchers.
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: MARINERS BULLPEN
7 IP, 2 W, 8 K, 1.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP
James Paxton is something very special. Scouts new they landed on a gold mine when Paxton landed with Seattle. He was a first round pick in 2009 by the Toronto Blue Jays, but never signed with the team. The Mariners simply couldn’t pass him up in the 2010 draft, and couldn’t be happier.
The tall lefty had a rough start to the year with injuries, but the rust looks to have worn off. Paxton came away with the Win last Tuesday shutting down the Rangers for the shutout. The team did send Paxton down to AAA Tacoma Rainiers to allow Erasmo Ramirez to throw BP on Wednesday, but expect Paxton to be called back up on Monday when the roster expands.
Paxton is penciled to start on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers team he dominated last week. Fantasy owners need to keep their lefty in the SP spot and look forward to a confident start. Below are Paxton’s projections this week for his fantasy start.
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: JAMES PAXTON
7 IP, 1 W, 8 K, 1.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP
Ackley has been on an absolute tear. In his past 14 games, Ackley is hitting .326 BA, hit two HR, scored 10 runs and has 10 RBI to add to his season totals. It’s no mystery his recent bump to the number two spot in the order in front of Robinson Cano may have saved his season.
For the longest time, Ackley’s problems at the plate looked to be a confidence issue. That simply is not the case anymore. Dustin looks more comfortable and confident as ever when hitting. Showing signs of his day at the University of North Carolina when he would absolutely rake off opposing pitchers.
If Ackley is still available in your fantasy leagues, go pick him up now. He has been the sleeper pick of the month, and is only getting better as the season draws closer to an end.
Fantasy baseball owners can expect the same output from Ackley this week as he takes on the division rivals Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics this week. Those are great ballparks for offense, so numbers should peak this week.
WEEKLY FANTASY PROJECTION: DUSTIN ACKLEY
.333 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 RUNS, 1 SB