Seattle Mariners Series Preview: Houston Astros April 3rd-6th
By Anthony Hill
Seattle Mariners regular season will return again on April 3rd! What should we be looking forward to in the M’s first series of the 2017 campaign?
Mariners baseball is back, and the 2017 campaign is looking to be a promising one. The M’s pursuit for the title will start in Houston from April 3rd-6th. Although only four games, these four games will set the table for the season to come.
Here are the probables for the four games against the Astros.
April 3rd – Felix Hernandez vs. Dallas Keuchel
April 4th – Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Lance McCullers Jr.
April 5th – James Paxton vs. Charlie Morton
April 6th – Ariel Miranda vs. Joe Musgrove
What to Look For
The highlight game of the series is obviously the first one. Two former Cy Young winners will duke it out on Opening Day. For both pitchers, however, 2017 will have to be a bounce back season after disappointing 2016 campaign.
Dallas Keuchel sported a 4.55 ERA in 2016 after being the best pitcher in the AL in 2015. For Hernandez, he had a 3.82 ERA, his highest since his 2007 season.
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Pitchers 2-4 may not be the aces of their respective staffs, but they certainly can pitch it just as well. Both teams are going to ride the momentum of their pitchers in order to play for the division title.
If you tuned into the WBC, you saw a large number of Astros and Mariners playing for their respective countries.
Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman all showed up big time for their teams. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Jean Segura also brought the boom wherever they went.
But the most impressive of all the WBC participants had to be the King himself. After his 2016 season, everyone was keeping a close eye on what Hernandez was going to do. And according to his stats, he returned to his Cy Young self.
A quality WBC doesn’t automatically mean an outstanding 2017, but the signs are nothing but positive.
My key matchup of the series is Hisashi Iwakuma vs. The Astros offense.
Iwakuma lives and breaths by two things: the location of his pitches and his nasty splitter. If he is able to do both of these things, his starts generally go very well. However, the Astros are a team that can take advantage of bad pitches.
Iwakuma will have to pitch really well in order to beat this high powered offense. I think that Iwakuma will get the best of the Astros and throw six innings en route to a Mariners win.
Firstly, the Mariners Felix Hernandez will continue his Opening Day dominance. In his Opening Day starts, he is 5-0 with a 1.55 ERA. Although the Astros have sometimes gotten the best of the King, Opening Day is under the reign of the King.
Overall, Jose Altuve and Cano will prove they are the two best second baseman in baseball by tearing up the opening series. They always seem to own the first part of the season, and this year will be no different.
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The Mariners will take this series winning three of the four matchups and will be led by their pitching. I expect them to rely on their fire-throwing closer, Edwin Diaz, in a few games as well.
This will be the 1st of six series against the Astros all year and the 1st of two in April. I also expect each series to be an exciting battle and believe these two division rivals will see each other one final time in early October, maybe even in the ALCS.
Finally, regular season baseball is back and the Mariners will kick things off with a series win.