The Seattle Mariners should be feeling good after taking 2-of-3 from a dangerous Texas Rangers team in Texas. Though their pitching was a little up-and-down throughout the series, Kyle Seager came through in the clutch in the top of the ninth in yesterday’s contest to seal the win for Seattle, giving them an impressive win over the current leaders in the AL West.
Erasmo Ramirez impressively dueled against Yu Darvish, and the M’s now find themselves heading into Oakland with a nice little bit of momentum.
An even .500 in their last 10 games, Seattle’s clearly out of the playoff picture but should still be striving to generate some great momentum towards the end of the season and finally reach that elusive .500 mark come the end of the season. Needing to go 24-15 (.615) in their remaining games, it would be a big boost for the club if they could come out with a series victory against an Athletics squad who will be trying to surpass Texas in the AL West Standings.
It’ll be tough to do, but it’s a goal that shouldn’t exactly be considered out of reach.
Here’s a quick preview of Seattle’s upcoming series against Oakland.
August 19, 2013 – Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics – 7:05 pm PT – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN
Should Seattle set their eyes on the .500 mark by years end starting today, they may want to wait just one more day to potentially feel good about that goal, as the Harangatang will be taking the mound for the Mariners.
While it is plausible for Seattle’s bats to really come alive in any given game, the presence of Aaron Harang on the mound has honestly been sucking all the hope out of me for quite some time.
He’s not good, he’s not a long-term solution, and there are plenty of young guys who could gain valuable experience by replacing him in the rotation.
But Seattle has decided to still send him out there for his obligatory five runs in three innings, so I still have to sit and wallow as he “slings” the ball at the plate.
Opposing the Harangatang on the hill will be Jarrod Parker, who has been pretty impressive for the Athletics in 2013. He is 8-6 with a respectable 3.87 ERA and has faced the Mariners three times this year, going 1-1 with a no decision in those contests.
As has happened in previous games when he has pitched against Seattle, Parker has given up a few runs and I fully expect him to do so today.
August 20, 2013 – Mariners vs. Athletics – 7:05 pm PT – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN
Now that Harang will have been off the mound for 24 hours, things should be looking a bit more positive with Joe Saunders on the mound. Though he has struggled out of the confines of Safeco Field this year, he has been pretty good against Oakland, going 2-1 in three games against the Athletics in 2013.
He’s surrendered just one run in each of last two starts against the A’s, and should be able to find his way through their lineup without too much damage done tomorrow night.
Sonny Gray will get the start for Oakland, and it’s kind of hard to pick this kid apart since he’s only been recently getting starts for the Athletics. He hasn’t made an appearance against Seattle in 2013 and has pitched in just four games so far this season.
However, he has been dominant in his brief stints, so much so that he boasts a 1-0 record with a 1.00 ERA. Still building his stamina, expect him to pitch 4-5 innings before a long reliever comes into the game.
August 21, 2013 – Mariners vs. Athletics – 12:35 pm PT – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN
Hisashi Iwakuma will get the start in the series finale against the Athletics, and will look to keep his ERA under 3.00 (it currently stands at 2.95) against a hot-hitting and scrappy Oakland team. Like Saunders, he has been relatively dominant against the Athletics in 2013.
He is 2-1 in three starts against Oakland and has given up just seven runs in 18 innings of work, with four of them coming in his last appearance. His relative dominance over the Athletics this year should give Seattle a boost.
A.J. Griffin will look for the win in the series finale against the Mariners for the Athletics, and is 1-1 against Seattle this year. His first start was rather impressive (two runs over six innings of work), but the Mariners did manage to rattle him a bit in their last game against Griffin, pushing across four runs in six innings.
He’s given up a home run in each of his games against Seattle, so expect the possibility of a long ball — or two — for the Mariners in this one.
So while the first game of the series is really a toss up at this point, based on relative performance so far in 2013, the Mariners could very well come away with their second straight series victory.
It won’t be easy, but it would be a crucial step on the way back to .500.