Seattle Mariners Series Preview: v. Houston Astros
By Matt Seto
The Mariners are finally home again tonight as they take on the Astros. Things are getting real exciting as we work our way into September, and things certainly don’t get any easier from here. The Mariners have the luxury of facing AL West opponents for virtually all of September, including 10 more games against the A’s and Angels. This bodes well for a team that is looking to pad some space in the Wild Card hunt.
The Mariners are now only 2.0 games back of the A’s for the first wild card, and hold a tenuous 0.5 game lead over the Tigers for the second. The Mariners continue to roll out the A-team with the King and Kuma this week and should be extending that lead. Here’s your Mariners Series preview for a three-game set against the Houston Astros.
Game one: Brad Peacock (4-8, 5.01 ERA) v. Felix Hernandez (14-5, 2.18 ERA)
Brad Peacock was winless through all of August and most of July, but he’s coming off of a win against the Angels last week. Things have been rough for Peacock, who topped 6+ innings for the first time since June, but MLB notes that he’s notched 15Ks and only 10 hits in his last three starts.
Felix returns home for a King’s court and is in search of his 15th win, something he hasn’t seen since 2009 (where he notched 19). Felix is sporting a 2.18 ERA, which is the lowest season ERA of his career, no-t to mention an AL Leading WHIP of 0.898.
Game two: Collin McHugh (8-9, 2.89 ERA) v. Roenis Elias (10-12, 3.90 ERA)
McHugh is developing into a solid starter for the Astros. After bouncing from the Mets to the Rockies, it seems that the young starter is finally at home in Houston. He’s in search of his 5th straight win, and hasn’t been charged with a loss since July 27th.
On the flip side is Roenis Elias, who has been pretty inconsistent in his rookie season. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance, and we’ve seen him get rocked in back-to-back starts. The Astros have only seen him once so far, where he went 5.1 innings and took a no-decision in the eventual Mariners win.
Game three: Nick Tropeano (0-0, 0.00 ERA) v. Hisashi Iwakuma (14-6, 2.97 ERA)
This is Tropeano’s MLB debut. He’s been playing in AAA Oklahoma all season and is getting the call for September. he sported a 9-5 record down there with an impressive 3.03 ERA. He’s going to have his work cut out for him against Kuma though.
Kuma would probably be back in Cy Young discussions if he hadn’t missed the first month of the season. He’s got an ERA sub 3, and a WHIP sub 1, with an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 132: 14. Kuma has faced the Astros three times this season, going 2-1.
- Iwakuma has now tallied 14 wins to match the 14 walks he’s given up all season.
- Dustin Ackley took Sunday’s game off after leaving Saturday’s game with an ankle injury. While Lloyd and company are saying it isn’t too much of a big deal, this is a very inopportune time to be losing a guy who is just starting to heat up.
- The Mariners’ 2015 schedule is out already, take a look here. (Of note to me, for the first time since I’ve lived here, the Blue Jays are playing a weekend series).
- Fernando Rodney notched his 43rd save of the season (AL Leading), and is now only two shy of the Mariners club record of 45.
- The Astros’ last win has vaulted them over 63 on the season, marking the end of a three season 100+ loss streak.
- To help the Mariners out, the Astros have won three straight series, including 2 wins against both the A’s and Angels. With the playoff race tightening up, those are huge spoiler wins for the Astros.
Wild Card Roundup
Things are getting hot. The Mariners and Tigers continue to flippy-flop for that second spot, but with Oakland’s recent series loss to the Astros, they are now within striking distance. Leapfrogging to the first wild card spot would obviously be huge for the Mariners, and now is the time to take advantage of a golden opportunity.
Look for a lot of movement this week as divisional matchups abound in the wild card race.
- The A’s are headed into Chicago for a four-game set against the White Sox. The Sox need to break a 4-game losing streak, which is possible considering the monumental 2-8 implosion the A’s have been on in their last ten games.
- The Tigers have a tough week ahead of them as they host the AL Central leading Royals for a three-gamer. The Royals are only 2.0 ahead of the Tigers, so there’s a chance here for the T’s to get back on top of the division.
- As I write this, the Indians are finishing off a makeup game against the Angels, but it looks like the Angels are going to take this one. This week the Indians are hosting the Twins in yet another divisional series.
- The Yankees are at home to host the Rays in a three-gamer this week. The Rays would love nothing more than to spoil things for the Yankees, who are 4-6 in their last 10 and are dropping the ball.
|New York Yankees||4.5|