Mariners Quick Hits: Series Preview vs Oakland Athletics
The Seattle Mariners are coming off a nice series win against the Detroit Tigers by winning 3 straight games, 2 of them in the walk-off variety. Seattle will look to keep the momentum flowing in Oakland for a 3 game set against the A’s.
Somehow, the Mariners sit an impressive 8 games over the .500 mark and winners of 5 of their last 7 games. It has been a wild 10 days for Seattle. In that span, the Mariners have thrown a no-hitter, lost Robinson Cano until August, lost a series to Detroit, and won 3 games via walk-off.
Seattle will have no easy task heading to Oakland to face a red-hot Oakland A’s team. Let’s dive a little deeper into what we could see this series.
The Seattle Mariners will send Mike Leake to the mound in Game 1. Leake has struggled in 2018, posting a 6.00 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. The Mariners will need Leake to be the rock in the middle of the rotation, as the struggles of Felix Hernandez have exploited the weakness of the staff as a whole.
Oakland will send Trevor Cahill to the mound. Cahill has been excellent thus far, posting a sub-3 ERA, while averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
Next, in Game 2, the Mariners will send Marco Gonzales to the mound. Gonzales has really rounded into form recently and is the owner of a 3,40 FIP. Gonzales has impressed with his swing and miss stuff recently, averaging just under a strikeout per inning.
Oakland has yet to name a starter for Wednesday or Thursday’s games.
Finally, for Game 3, Seattle will send the one time King, Felix Hernandez to the bump. Hernandez has been pretty bad in 2018 but has posted 2 solid starts against Oakland in 2018. Seattle needs Felix to get right, and he will have an opportunity to do so in Game 3.
News and Notes
We could see some runs scored in the series. The Mariners and A’s rank 10th and 11th in baseball in runs scored. The two teams have slightly different approaches. The A’s rely on the long ball, hitting the 5th most homers in the big leagues. Seattle uses its speed to put pressure on the opponent, ranking 5th in steals and bottom 5 in the league in K%.
Nelson Cruz will look to stay healthy for an extended stretch. He missed Sunday’s game with a sore elbow. The on again, off again start to the season has hampered Cruz’s timing at the plate, and he is slugging just .178 in his past 10 games.
With the absence of Robinson Cano, the Mariners will need Cruz to step up his game sooner rather than later.
Speaking of stepping it up, Ben Gamel has been quietly fantastic in May. In 15 games in May, Gamel has slashed .325/.413/.475. He looks visibly more comfortable at the plate, which makes sense considering Gamel used April has a de facto Spring Training.
Next: Two Trades that Saved the Mariners
The Mariners hold the season series in 2018, leading 4 games to 2.