Mariners Game Notes: Elias Looks to Keep Dominating AL East

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May 25, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; A general view of a base with a special Memorial Day sign, sits on the field prior to the game between the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost, I want to wish everyone a very happy Memorial day, and a huge thank you to all the men and woman who have served, are currently serving, and will serve this great country in the future. It’s people like you who allow me to write this blog, and allow the Seattle Mariners to play some baseball today! So, thank you to all the service men and women who fight for our freedom! With that being said, lets take a look at tonight’s matchup.

The Seattle Mariners (20-23) will begin its final series of the ten game road trip, taking on the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays (24-21) in what is a pivotal series for the Seattle Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 pm PT from Tropicana Field in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Roenis Elias (1-1 2.76 ERA) will get the ball for the Seattle Mariners, coming off his best outing of the year against the Baltimore Orioles giving up just one run in 7 2/3 innings pitched. The Rays will counter with Jake Odorizzi (3-4 2.43 ERA) where in his last start against the Atlanta Braves, he went six innings, giving up just four hits and allowing two earned runs. This game will be live broadcasted by Root Sports Northwest, and can also be watched anywhere in the country with an MLB.tv subscription.

The Mariners come into this game taking two out of three against the Toronto Blue Jays, and looking to finish up this little tour of the AL East, as they’ve gone 5-5 against the AL East so far this season. The Mariners come into this game sitting in fourth place in the AL west, and trailing the first place Houston Astros by eight games.

M’s manager Lloyd McClendon and Rays’ manager Kevin Cash have released the following lineups for tonights game:

Skipper Lloyd McClendon is going with the lineup I think you will see a lot of in the coming future, because I think it is the best hitting lineup the M’s can produce for the time being. This lineup features five lefties against the right-handed pitching Jake Odorizzi. After giving Robinson Cano a little bit of a breather yesterday by slotting him into the DH spot, Lloyd has him back at 2B for the Mariners tonight. Brad Miller is back in the outfield for tonight’s game after playing second base yesterday; he’ll be in leftfield today. One thing that stands out with this lineup is Justin Ruggiano batting 6th and playing CF. Originally brought in with the intentions of hitting against just left handed pitchers, he gets the start because of Dustin Ackley struggles and his success against Jack Odorizzi, as he’s 2-for-3 in his career against him. Lloyd McClendon has proven he isn’t afraid to tinker with the lineup until he finds one he likes, and he has yet to come up with one he likes and feels comfortable with penciling in night in and night out.

Pick To Click:

May 20, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) runs to first base after singling during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I could go safe here and pick Roenis Elias, as he has been absolutely phenomenal for the Seattle Mariners since being called up from Triple A. But, I am feeling bold on this Memorial Day and I am going with Robinson Cano. Great hitters find a way to turn things around, and I still feel like Robinson Cano is a great hitter. Cano has only faced the Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi three times, going 1-for-3 against him, and historically hits well at Tropicana Field. In the past three years against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field he has hit .318, with three home runs and 13 RBIs. We’ve all been waiting for Robinson Cano to break out; with Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon saying he is so close, and I believe tonight will be the night. Look for Cano to go 2-for-4 with a home run and a couple RBIs. Robinson Cano, my pick to click.

Final Score Prediction:

This is a tough one to pick, as this could shape up to being another pitchers dual with both teams showcasing a rather inconsistent offense. On top of that, both teams are not playing their best baseball right now, with both ball clubs going 5-5 in their past ten games. This game will come down to who can get the big hit, and with Kyle Seager heating up, Nelson Cruz still playing out of this world baseball, and the good feelings I have for Robinson Cano in this game, I’ll have the Mariners winning a close one 4-3.

Be sure to check back with SoDo Mojo immediately following this game for a post game reaction as well as analysis of how the Mariners performed on this Memorial Day.

Next: Mariners Analysis: Who's Hot and Who's Not

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