Good news for Seattle Mariners fans: what looked like a difficult seven-game road trip has started off with a bang as the Mariners took three of four games from the Texas Rangers. With the wins, Seattle jumped into the third place team in the race for the second Wild Card behind only the Twins and the Angels. Bad news, though, the Twins have also won three games in a row, and they hold a 3.5 game lead on the final Wild Card spot. The Mariners still have head-to-head contests vs. the Angels, but they will need help to jump over the Twins.
Massive Series in Houston. I said before this road trip started that the Mariners would need to go 5-2 on this road trip to stay a player in the playoff race. That means taking two of three from the first place Astros in Houston. The Mariners did take two of three games in their last trip to Houston in the middle of July, but the Astros swept them three straight in Seattle last week. Also, the Astros haven’t shifted into cruise control for the rest of the season. Since the Cleveland Indians are insanely red hot, the Indians have passed the Astros for best record in the A.L. and home field, a spot the Astros had held most of this season. The Astros trail the Indians by 2.5 games going into tonight’s game.
Hernandez, now Paxton? Felix had a successful return to the rotation last night, although his pitch count limited him to 3.2 innings pitched. The Mariners now turn to James Paxton, who is making his first start since early August. Like Hernandez, Paxton will be on a pitch count. Hopefully, the bats will stay hot shifting from Arlington to Houston. The Mariners put up 28 runs in their three wins. If the Mariners can score early and often, Servais can keep Paxton on that strict pitch count and turn it over to the bullpen to take it home.
Twin Watching. After back-to-back extra inning wins, the Mariners are hoping that the Twins luck will run out. Minnesota has three more home games against the Toronto Blue Jays, before a massive road trip that will take them to New York and Cleveland to battle the afore mentioned Indians. Seattle has life, but they will need some help as they do not face the Twins again this season. The Angels, a half game up on the Mariners, will now have three home games against the Texas Rangers before welcoming in the Indians followed by a trip to Houston. Like I said earlier, the Mariners will face the Angels head-to-head but not until the final weekend of the season.