On the Road Again
The Seattle Mariners finished off a pretty good home stand on Wednesday and will now play a three game series in Toronto starting today at 7pm ET. Taking their first two series of the year from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Baltimore Orioles in back-to-back weeks, the Mariners have seen several players start to heat up and will likely be carrying an entirely different attitude on the road this weekend.
The bats have started to heat up, pitchers have been finding their own grooves, and the team has a different aura around them than they did two weeks ago. It’s surely easy to say that the Mariners have been reinvigorated in recent weeks.
Looking at their record right now, the Mariners stand at 13-17 and are currently five games back of the AL West leading Texas Rangers. Michael Saunders made his return this past week, picking up where he left off and looks as though he will be a solid player in 2013. Though it may still relatively early, the way he is swinging the bat is very promising. And it’s not only Saunders who is currently heating up.
As mentioned before, Seattle and Toronto will be initiating their series in just a few hours. Here’s my keys to Seattle taking their third series in a row.
Felix, Iwakuma Lead the Way
Early on this 2013 MLB season it looks as though Seattle may have one of the best 1-2 combos in baseball. Headlined by perennial Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez, the Mariners can now also rely on Hisashi Iwakuma to produce phenomenal results week-in and week-out.
Hernandez currently boasts a 1.90 ERA while Iwakuma is besting his teammate with a 1.67 ERA. With Felix going today and Iwakuma tomorrow, the Mariners must capitalize on the strong pitching they will receive in these next two days and really attack Toronto early to actually give their pitchers some form of comfort.
Don’t Underestimate Toronto
Prior to actually getting any games going during the season the Toronto Blue Jays were the team everybody was picking to potentially make a surge in the AL East and really contend this year. And though there is still plenty of baseball to play, their record stands at a meek 10-19 and many of their “star” players are under-performing.
However, this does not mean that the Mariners should take the Blue Jays lightly. The easiest way to think of them is as if they were the Angels. They have all that potential star power that is just waiting to hit their groove and tear up the league. They just aren’t there yet.
That being said, let’s not have their turnaround weekend happen against the Mariners.
Keep the Offensive Momentum Going
As mentioned earlier, Seattle has really started to get their offense going in the right direction. They have plated 30 runs in their past seven contests and have scored an excess of five runs three times in that same span. In fact, Seattle is coming off an 8-3 drubbing of Baltimore that saw the entire offense click.
Aside from Saunders, Ackley, and Bay finding their strides at the plate, Mike Morse has started to get it going again since his hand injury and the Mariners are really making opposing pitchers work.
After a slow start to the season Seattle looks like they are turning things around. What was once a bleak looking team is now a promising squad that are playing better and could see them reach the .500 mark after another week of play. If Seattle follows the three keys listed above and play well against the Blue Jays, they may reach the .500 mark sooner than later.