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Series preview: Mariners at Indians (July 29-July 31)

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The Indians start their first home stand after the All Star break with a visit from one of their wild card competitors, the Seattle Mariners.

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Likely Cy Young winner, Felix Hernandez
Likely Cy Young winner, Felix Hernandez
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Tribe return home to the safe haven that is Progressive Field to take on the Seattle Mariners in an important series to stay in the wild card, and division, race.

  • Tuesday's game is at 7:05 PM (Iwakuma vs. Bauer)
  • Wednesday's game is at 7:05 PM (Hernandez vs. Kluber)
  • Thursday's game is at 7:05 PM (Young vs. McAllister)

Another AL West team, the last place Texas Rangers arrive for the weekend series once the Mariners depart. Then the Battle for Ohio will take place next Monday through Thursday, with the first two at Progressive and the last two at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Division Watch: White Sox at Tigers, Twins at Royals.

Team in a Box

Seattle Mariners

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

54-51

Runs/Game

3.8

9th

Runs/Game

3.4

1st

AL West

3rd

OBP

299

15th

H/9

7.4

1st

Last 10

3-7

SLG

371

14th

BB/9

2.9

7th

Last 30

15-15

Steals

56

10th

SO/9

8.1

5th

After the Mariners took two of three in Seattle in late June from the Indians, they continued their torrid streak by sweeping the Astros. But since then, they have won just one other series, against the Athletics. Since that Houston sweep, they are just 7-13.

The Mariners team has been in a serious offensive funk since last we met. The runs/game has dropped from 4.1 to 3.8 in the past month, dropping them from ninth to fourteenth. They are still dead last in on base percentage and have dropped from tenth to fourteenth in slugging. The reason they are still in the playoff hunt is that superb pitching staff. When you score less than four runs/game, if the pitching staff is allowing fewer than that, you will win more often than not.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

C

Mike Zunino

R

321

209

677

1B

Logan Morrison

L

178

201

588

2B

Robinson Cano

L

434

328

843

3B

Kyle Seager

L

426

279

830

SS

Brad Miller

L

325

203

599

LF

Dustin Ackley

L

340

251

664

CF

James Jones

L

299

264

614

RF

Endy Chavez

L

165

261

632

DH

Kendrys Morales#

S

175

226

568

C

Jesus Sucre

R

15

214

429

IF

Chris Taylor

R

8

375

875

1B

Corey Hart

R

219

209

609

OF

Stefan Romero

R

180

196

545

# Includes stats with Twins

As noted before, this team is in a deep offensive funk. There have been two changes to the normal lineup. First, it appears the Justin Smoak experiment may have reached its conclusion. He was sent down to AAA Tacoma in favor of Morrison, who has actually been starting since June 1. Morrison only has a 617 OPS since then. Second, Morales was just reacquired after putting up some very pedestrian numbers since signing with Twins in June. Backup catcher John Buck was DFA'ed recently in favor of the youngster Sucre. One time hot prospect Jesus Montero has been sent down to AAA as well and Cole Gillespie got his DFA papers too.

This lineup is predicated on two guys, Cano and Seager. No one else has an OPS over 700. Seager had a 545/545/636 line in the June series and Chavez was the only other over 800. If we can limit the damage from Seager and Cano, this series can be won.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

WHIP

K/9

Felix Hernandez

R

1.99

158.1

0.891

9.8

Hishahsi Iwakuma

R

3.09

110.2

0.994

7.2

Chris Young

R

3.04

124.1

1.102

5.6

Roenis Elias

L

4.31

123.1

1.273

8.0

Fernando Rodney

R

2.16

41.2

1.176

9.9

Danny Farquhar

R

2.51

46.2

1.136

10.0

Charlie Furbush

L

3.90

30.0

1.167

9.3

Tom Wilhelmsen

R

2.34

57.2

1.040

8.0

Yoervis Medina

R

2.45

36.2

1.173

8.3

Joe Beimel

L

1.39

32.1

1.175

5.0

Dominic Leone

R

2.30

43.0

1.279

9.8

Brandon Maurer

R

5.21

48.1

1.448

6.9

Iwakuma had a very good July. In five starts, he had a 2.27 ERA, allowed 29 hits in 35.2 innings, struck out 33 and walked no one. We luckily missed him at the end of July. The Tribe did beat him up a bit last year, five runs in six innings. We weren't as fortunate to miss Hernandez. As awesome as Kluber has been this season, King Felix has been as good if not better. He leads the league in strikeouts and has only one start with more than three earned runs. He threw a one hitter in the June series. Young has been very effective in July, a 2.73 ERA in five starts, a 0.939 WHIP and a 8.5 K/9. He was excellent in the June series, only one run in five innings.

In my opinion, this bullpen is even stronger than the one we faced in Kansas City. The one positive headed into this series is that we do not face a left handed starter, and they appear to only have one effective left handed reliever, Beimel. In the eight relief innings in the June series, the only run given up was by Rodney. The Tribe only netted four hits, two walks and struck out nine times.

The best hope in this series is a split between the Iwakuma and Felix starts, with Kluber giving us the best shot and hopefully jumping out to an early lead against Young.

On the Shelf

  • RF Michael Saunders [15 day DL], possible mid-August return
  • IF Willie Bloomquist [15 day DL], possible mid-August return
  • SP James Paxton [60 day DL], on AAA rehab
  • OF Franklin Gutierrez [restricted list], out for season

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2014

1

2

333

7

6

570

2013

5

2

714

41

22

758

Last 5*

23

18

561

201

165

589

Last 10*

47

38

553

430

362

578

All-Time

211

166

560

1921

1689

559

*Does not include 2014 stats

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