After a much-needed off-day on Thursday, the Mariners will be looking to start their season from scratch with a 2-8 record. For the first time this year, they will be facing off with the Rangers who are having some struggles of their own.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Even though we are very early in the season, this series could be one of the biggest for the front of the Mariners’ rotation.
With the team already six games below .500 in April, there’s going to be lots of pressure this weekend for the top three starters to present good outings and give themselves a chance at the first series win of the year.
Be sure to look out for Nelson Cruz‘s trips to the plate against Martin Perez on Friday night. Last season in seven at-bats against Perez, Cruz hit two homers and drove in three runs.
Cruz started off the season very slow, only three for his first 24. He began to show some signs of production in the last series against Houston with five hits in 13 at-bats, but he still has not hit a home run yet this year.
In addition to his success last season, Cruz has done well against Perez his entire career. He has hit .500 in his 12 plate appearances against him, with a walk, a hit by pitch, and a double.
Since Cruz spent the first seven games without much luck at the plate, and he began to show some progress at the beginning of this week, the series this weekend could be a great opportunity to break out and lead the offense in a crucial series.
After having some problems on the hill the last couple days, which has cost them a couple of wins, the Mariners are back to the front of the rotation, so they should have a little bit more confidence in any leads they may get.
Friday night’s contest is sure to be a little bit hectic with a full house coming out to Safeco Field for Ken Griffey Jr. Statue Night. This crowd will be especially hyped up with King Felix on the mound at home for the first time this season.
The Mariners are going to want to feed off the energy in the building just like they did in their 6-0 victory in the home opener on Monday. If they can do that, the ingredients are there to send the fans home happy on Friday.
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Saturday’s game with Paxton on the hill also seems promising for the Mariners. Though the Rangers have not officially announced their starter for Saturday, signs point toward Andrew Cashner taking the ball for Texas. Cashner is 31-53 for his career with a 3.89 ERA.
The Mariners should hope that they are able to get enough runs off Cashner to provide Paxton enough room to work. On paper, the Mariners should find themselves coming away with a win Saturday as well.
Sunday could end up being the toughest game of the series for the M’s. They will be facing off with Cole Hamels, who has previously had his way with the Mariners. In the last three years, they have hit only .254 off of Hamels.
They do have Hisashi Iwakuma starting though, and he is off to a great start this year giving up only three runs in two starts. This matchup could end up in a pitchers’ duel where either team could come out on top.
The blueprint is definitely there for the Mariners to get their first series win of the year. Now it is time for them to execute.