What a weekend for the Seattle Mariners! After a sluggish 2-8 start to the season, they won their first series of the year in resounding fashion with a sweep of the Texas Rangers. Besides putting together their first, but hopefully not their last, win streak of the season, they pulled out of last in the A.L. West leapfrogging over the Rangers. In fact, Seattle is now one game out of second since the Angels have lost five games in a row. Seattle now tries to finish their first home stand of the season strong welcoming in the Miami Marlins for three games.
Bullpen Bounce Back. Some of the slow start could be laid at the feet of the bullpen, punctuated with blowing a six running lead to the Angels in the ninth inning two Sundays ago. The bullpen sparkled over the weekend, nailing down Felix Hernandez’s first win of the season in a 2-1 game on Friday, then throwing six innings of one run ball yesterday. Hisashi Iwakuma got roughed up yesterday, and he left the game with Seattle trailing 6-1 after three innings. Six relievers combined to hold the Rangers in check, as the offense came through in an 8-7 win rallying to tie the game at six then adding two runs in the ninth inning to win it.
Starting Pitching. It’ll be the back half of the rotation in this series followed by Felix Hernandez on the series finale on Wednesday. Ariel Miranda will get the nod on Monday, probably glad to see a team not named the Houston Astros. Miranda made both of his starts against Houston, and he was batted around a bit coming into tonight’s start with a 0-1 record and a 5.06 ERA. Yovani Gallardo will go Tuesday, also looking for his first win of the 2017 season. Gallardo has went only 5.0 IP in his first two starts, and it will be interesting to see if manager Scott Servais extends the veteran in start No. 3. Staff ace Felix Hernandez will pitch the finale on Wednesday. Hernandez picked up his first win of the season last Friday in a 2-1 victory over Texas. He turned in his best outing of 2017, going 7.1 IP allowing one ER and six hits, and he will be looking to build on that Wednesday night.
Marlins Come Into Town. Miami comes into Seattle tied for Washington for first place in the N.L. East at 7-5. After a sixteen inning game Thursday vs. the Mets, Miami won the next three vs. New York to head into their upcoming nine-game road trip with some momentum. Obviously, a lot of eyes in this series will be on former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki coming back to town. The 43-year-old has gotten off to a slow start, batting 1-for-12 with six SO on the season. Seattle and Miami are both playing well right now, so this should make for an entertaining series. I like the Mariners to take two of three games in this match-up.