Mariners Game Notes: The Boom Heard Round the League
Here at SoDo Mojo we pride ourselves on providing fans with the most pertinent Mariners’ news and analysis on the web. The Moose-ical notes are the best place to find out all the information you need to know prior to first pitch.
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With Sunday afternoon’s incredible win, the Seattle Mariners moved to within 1 game of the American League West division leading Houston Astros. The M’s have not had a great start to the season, but thankfully nobody in the AL West has had a hot start in 2015.
The Seattle Mariners (5-7) will welcome the Houston Astros (6-6) to Safeco Field on Monday night for the opener of a 3-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm tonight from the corner of Edgar and Dave. Hisashi Iwakuma will hope to get into the win column as he toes the rubber for the M’s. Asher Wojciechowski will get the ball for the ‘Stros Monday night in the Emerald City. Root Sports Northwest will carry the game live, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch on connected devices.
Mariners’ skipper Lloyd McClendon and Astros’ boss A.J. Hinch released the following lineups for tonight’s series opener:
It is interesting to note that Seth Smith is hitting out of the 6 hole on Monday night. The veteran outfielder was originally expected to be the M’s no.2 hitter in 2015, but Dustin Ackley has been hitting second against right-handed starters recently. McClendon said in Spring Training that it was a big mistake to move Ackley up to the no.2 spot last season, so it is surprising to see him there again this year. Smith has put up quality numbers this season, and I think his high on base percentage is better utilized at the top of the lineup.
Nelson Cruz Named American League Player of the Week
Honestly, the news that Nelson Cruz was named AL Player of the week surprises no one. I cannot remember the last time the Mariners had a player hotter than Nelson Cruz is right now. He is hitting .485 over his last 8 games, with 8 home runs and 14 RBI’s. He is well on his way to a historic season in the Emerald City. Cruz has lived up the hype thus far, and as of right now, he is the main reason the M’s are competitive.
Cruz was originally signed to be the club’s everyday designated hitter, but he has been getting a surprising amount of starts in right field in the early part of the season. Some of his playing time is due to Seth Smith’s quad issues, but Cruz has actually hit better when given the chance to play the field. According to McClendon, Cruz is leveraging this to get more opportunities to defend right field. The 34-year-old is getting the nod in right again tonight, so another big game may be on the horizon for the Boom Stick.
Apr 19, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielderAustin Jackson
(16) hits an RBI-single to tie the game during the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Pick to Click
It would be far too easy to pick Nelly Cruz as my pick to click, so I am going to go with center fielder Austin Jackson. AJ was huge for Seattle on Sunday afternoon, hitting his first home run as a Mariner and coming through with a game-tying single in the bottom of the 9th inning. He is hitting .277 this season, and tonight I think he will slice his first triple of the year down the right field line. Jackson will do a great job setting the table for the powerful bats hitting behind him, and AJ will be the unsung hero in tonight’s victory.
Final Score Prediction
The Seattle Mariners have a golden opportunity in front of them to catapult themselves into first place in the American League West with a win tonight. The achilles heel thus far in 2015 for Seattle has been the starting pitching. Kuma is typically one of the top pitchers in baseball, but he has looked shaky during his first 2 outings. I expect a strong showing tonight from Iwakuma against a very poor hitting Astros club. It will not be easy, but I predict a 5-3 victory for the M’s in the series opener.
Check back with SoDo Mojo following today’s game for a full recap of the Mariners’ victory over the Astros (fingers crossed!)
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