Things kept on the up and up for the Seattle Mariners to start this week, as they finished their home stand by taking two of three games from the Miami Marlins. Seattle inched closer to .500 after their 2-8 start, and they now stand at 7-9 for the season. They passed the Angels the standings in the A.L. West, and they are a half game behind their next opponent, the Oakland A’s. The Mariners will head to Oakland for four games before heading to the Midwest for two three-game sets against the best teams in the A.L. Central, the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians.
Hello, Offense. The loss on Tuesday, the only game the Seattle Mariners dropped to the Marlins, was brutal as Miami carried a no-hitter into the ninth. The other two games, though, the Mariners’ offense raked putting up sixteen runs in two wins. Mitch Haniger is simply on fire, leading the Mariners in every major offensive category (HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, and hits). Haniger went 5-for-11 vs. the Marlins, and he broke up the potential no-hitter on Tuesday. Nelson Cruz is starting to heat up, a great sign for Mariners’ fans, as he went 3-for-11 in the series with a HR, his second on the season. The bats need to keep up their production as they hit the road again.
Starting Pitching. Every starter not named Felix Hernandez will go in this four game set vs. the A’s. All eyes will be on tonight’s starter James Paxton. Paxton has been incredibly hot to start the season, throwing 21.0 IP and not giving up a single run. He’s only surrendered eight hits in those innings, and he has struck out 22 batters, including a season-high nine in his last start vs. Texas. Hiashi Iwakuma, Friday’s starter, and Yovani Gallardo, Sunday’s starter, are still looking for their first wins of the 2017 campaign. Ariel Miranda, who drew a tough Houston team in his first two starts, got his first win of the season on Monday vs. Miami. Miranda looked like the pitcher from 2016, throwing seven shutout innings while holding the Marlins to four hits and striking out five. He will get the ball on Saturday, Game 3 of the four game set.
On the Road Again. Seattle started the season with seven straight road games, and they went 1-6. The A’s are the last team from the A.L. West that the Mariners have not faced so far this season. Oakland, in the middle of a nine-game home stand, lost the first three games before winning two straight vs. the struggling Texas Rangers. Run production will be key; the A’s held the Rangers to three runs in winning the last two games. The Mariners struggled in the first week at the plate as they were shut out Opening Day and score just one run twice in their first seven games. Winning on the road is vital, along with holding ground against divisional opponents. If Paxton continues to dominate, then the Mariners would have to only win two of the next three after his start to win the series. I see a split on the horizon, with the Mariners only winning two of four.