mariners

Mariners preview: Looking ahead to the next 5 games

Towards the Break

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a preview of Seattle Mariners games (mostly because I’ve spent more time watching them and really trying to break them down than anything else), but this time we’re back with a vengeance.

The Mariners have looked pretty good as of late. Though they dropped a slugfest to the Boston Red Sox last night in an 11-8 triumph by the visitors, the young guys who have been brought up are making significant contributions and really stepping into big shoes.

Brad Miller has shown he can hit in the leadoff spot, Nick Franklin has continued to be stellar, and Mike Zunino is flashing the defensive prowess he needs to focus on right now.

Seattle is currently 5-3 in July and looks like a much better team. Heading into the All-Star break in five games, they could very well use these next few games to build some momentum heading into the break.

Here’s what the Mariners will be up against.

vs. Boston Red Sox (July 10, 2013) – 7:10 pm – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN

I have a love-hate relationship with Harang this year. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

I have a love-hate relationship with Harang this year. (Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports)

Looking to keep their hot bats going, Seattle may very well have to lean on an offensive effort tonight as temperatures in Seattle will remain warm with Aaron Harang on the hill. Compared to earlier in the year, Harang looks like a completely different pitcher. He’s commanding the ball much better and looks to have a bit more confidence on the hill.

That being said, as evidenced by their outburst against Hisashi Iwakuma last night, the Red Sox can tattoo the ball, and Harang is due for one of his awful performances. If he can manage five-six innings of decent work tonight, I’d say the boys from the Emerald City have a fighting chance in this one.

To come away with a win tonight the Mariners will have to get to Felix Doubront, a veteran pitcher who currently boasts a 5-3 record with a 4.11 ERA. Like Harang, he has a tendency to have on-and-off days, something Seattle will have to capitalize on.

Opponents have a pretty good batting average against him (.262) and the Mariners are currently swinging the bats very well. Look for them to jump on him early and attempt to come away with a decisive victory.

vs. Boston Red Sox (July 11, 2013) – 12:40 pm – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN

No starter is penciled in yet for the Mariners in this one, but rumors are that Erasmo Ramirez will come back up to join the team and get the start in this one. However, in the back of my mind I’m really hoping one of the big three comes up and makes their big league debut in this game.

Obviously, that is a dream of mine and we’ll likely see Ramirez come in to get this start before the All-Star break. Still, how cool would it be for Paxton (who just pitched so realistically, no) or Walker to make their official debut?!?

Opposing whichever pitcher gets the start for Seattle will be Ryan Dempster, the once phased-out pitcher who is attempting to revitalize his career with Boston. He’s doing so-so on the year and currently has a 5-8 record with a 4.04 ERA.

Let’s hope the Mariners can continue to swing their hot bats and jump all over this veteran who is past his prime.

vs. Los Angeles Angels (July 12, 2013) – 7:10 pm – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN

Saunders is like Harang for me. Meh.

Saunders is like Harang for me. Meh.

The battle for third place in the AL West will resume when the Angels come to town for a three-game series that will be the final contests before a much needed All-Star break for the Mariners. Joe Saunders will look to pitch well against his old team while using the pitching confines of Safeco Field to bolster his performance.

He’s made one start against Los Angeles in 2013, getting the loss but pitching a brilliant eight innings of one-run baseball. Let’s hope his fortunes are a little better this time around.

Pitching against Seattle will be Jerome Williams, a pitcher with a 1-0 record in two appearances against the Mariners in 2013. Surprisingly enough, Williams hasn’t given up a run to Seattle in 2013, but hopefully Safeco Field will prove friendly to the Mariners and give them the momentum to scratch a few runs across.

vs. Los Angeles Angels (July 13, 2013) – 7:10 pm – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN

Happy Felix Day! Felix Hernandez will look to finish off the first half of the season with a stellar performance against the Angels after surrendering six runs but just two earned in his last appearance against the Halos.

Jered Weaver will oppose the King on Saturday and will look to get a win in his first start against Seattle this year. He currently boasts a 3-4 record with a 3.38 ERA but is 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA on the road. Here’s to hoping his road struggles continue against the Mariners.

vs. Los Angeles Angels (July 14, 2013) – 1:10 pm – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN

The final game before the All-Star break, the Mariners will look to have Hisashi Iwakuma rebound after a tough stretch of games where he has definitely not looked as dominant as he did as he was at the beginning of the year. Whether this is a consequence of him starting to tire-out already (although this probably isn’t the case) or hitters starting to adapt to his pitching style, it will be very interesting to see if our latest Japanese phenom will be able to turn-it-around soon so he can help with a second-half run.

Luckily for Iwakuma, he’ll be opposed by Joe Blanton. Now, there aren’t many people in baseball who I really despise, but there’s just something about Blanton that I hate.

He’s had a few good years but it appears his gut is finally catching up to him.

Still always acting like he owns whatever stadium he is in, his 2-11 record is laughable and the Mariners should be able to plate some runs and send themselves out as winners heading into a much-needed rest.

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About Chris Anderson

NWSB Editor. Chris hails from Eugene, Oregon; home of the Fighting Ducks. If he is not viewing, writing about, or attending sporting events, Chris is running on the trails Eugene offers or out-and-about. Aspirations to exceed expectations. Connect w/ Chris today!
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