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Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners series preview

Well, the winning streak had to end sometime. Tis a shame that the streak of winning series also ended. Now, the Tribe heads west to face Seattle in SafeCo Field.

The best 2014 free agent signing, Nelson Cruz
The best 2014 free agent signing, Nelson Cruz
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

With the win yesterday avoiding a series sweep, the Tribe head west (yes ... super late games for the EST fans) to take on one of the preseason favorites, the Seattle Mariners.

  • Thursday, 10:10 ET: Corey Kluber (RH) vs. James Paxton (LH)
  • Friday, 10:10 ET: Trevor Bauer (RH) vs. Taijuan Walker (RH)
  • Saturday, 10:ET PM: Shaun Marcum (RH) vs. Roenis Elias (LH)
  • Sunday, 4:10 ET: Danny Salazar (RH) vs. J.A. Happ (LH)

The Mariners have been on a bit of a hot streak lately. They just swept the Rays in Tampa and took two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto to complete a 6-3 road trip (also was in Baltimore) to even their record at 0.500. Once the four game set is complete, the Tribe will take a day of respite and head to Kansas City for three more before heading back home.

Division Watch: Royals at Cubs, Blue Jays at Twins, Tigers at Angels, White Sox at Astros.

Team in a Box

Seattle Mariners

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2014 Record

23-23

Runs/Game

3.8

13th

Runs/Game

4.1

5th

AL West

2nd

OBP

297

14th

H/9

8.4

5th

Last 10

7-3

SLG

403

9th

BB/9

3.2

12th

Last 30

16-14

Steals

22

10th

SO/9

7.7

6th

The Mariners staff overall has been right around league average, but with Felix Hernandez and Paxton both having good years, it sort of evens out for the poor starts of some of the back end guys. The hitting has improved from the past couple of years, but not by a whole lot. They are still bottom five in many categories. Overall, the defense has been average, but no one is really bad at his position.

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Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Mike Zunino

R

139

181

609

71

1B

Logan Morrison

L

179

236

710

101

2B

Robinson Cano

L

199

253

630

78

3B

Kyle Seager

L

184

275

806

125

SS

Chris Taylor

R

64

169

455

31

LF

Brad Miller

L

153

237

741

110

CF

Austin Jackson

R

112

231

587

68

RF

Seth Smith

L

135

264

805

125

DH

Nelson Cruz

R

195

341

1082

201

OF

Dustin Ackley

L

116

179

521

44

OF

Rickie Weeks

R

79

188

581

72

OF

Justin Ruggiano

R

70

200

681

98

IF

Willie Bloomquist

R

41

200

445

24

C

Welington Castillo #

R

65

155

508

32

# Stats with Cubs and Mariners

I take back what I said above. This offense is fairly atrocious. Cruz has definitely been worth that offseason contract. And Seager is having a fine repeat of 2014. But man, what a lot of black holes in this lineup. Former top prospects Zunino and Ackley are really struggling, with Ackley losing his job. Manager Lloyd McClendon doesn't really have any bench options either. I mean they are carrying three backup outfielders and Bloomquist can play there in a pinch. Jackson appears to be a shell of his former self. McClendon has been mixing and matching all of the outfield positions over the past two weeks.

In the past two weeks, Seager, Smith Cruz and Ruggiano have been the key bats, all better than an 800 OPS. Seager has five bombs in that span while Cruz has three to push his league leading total to 18.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Felix Hernandez

R

1.91

3.21

70.2

0.89

9.0

James Paxton

L

3.52

4.22

53.2

1.25

6.9

Tijuan Walker

R

7.33

5.47

43.0

1.84

8.2

Roenis Elias

L

2.56

4.21

38.2

1.29

7.2

J.A. Happ

L

3.71

3.53

53.1

1.22

6.9

Fernando Rodney

R

6.98

4.98

19.1

1.71

8.4

Carson Smith

R

0.86

2.45

21.0

0.67

10.3

Charlie Furbush

L

1.64

3.21

11.0

0.82

5.7

Tom Wilhelmsen

R

1.69

1.34

10.2

1.22

11.8

Mark Lowe

R

1.13

2.75

8.0

1.50

10.1

Joe Beimel

L

2.45

2.71

7.1

1.09

7.4

While the scheduling gods did give the Tribe a break by missing King Felix, they really did no favors as the Tribe gets to face all three lefties that the Mariners employ in the rotation. First up will be Paxton. He is 3-0 in his four May starts, beating the Padres, Red Sox and Blue Jays, with a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings with a 1.07 WHIP and 5.0 K/9. He has never faced Cleveland. Walker has been a lot more erratic, 0-3 in five starts, 7.71 ERA, 1.80 WHIP and 7.7 K/9 in 23.1 innings. The high profile prospect also has never faced the Indians. Elias joined the rotation when Iwakuma went down. In May he is 2-1 in five starts, 2.45 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 6.8 K/9 in 33 innings. He did make one start in 2014 vs. the Tribe, taking the loss with five runs in six innings in the Josh Tomlin masterpiece, with Gomes taking him deep. Happ was acquired for Michael Saunders this offseason. He has a 5.19 ERA in his five May starts (1-0), 1.38 WHIP and 8.0 K/9. Happ has two career starts in 2012 and 2014 with a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings with a 1.00 WHIP and 5.8 K/9.

The Mariners bullpen is antithesis to the Indians. They use just six relievers, two of them left handed. This is Rodney's second year in Seattle, but he has a long history against the Tribe from his Detroit days. In 49 appearances, he has a 3.81 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 and just six home runs in 52 innings. Smith is the relative newcomer who is off to a fantastic start this year. Furbush has a 5.40 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 12.9 K/9 in 18.1 career Tribe innings. Wilhelmsen was the closer back in 2012 and 2013. He has a 2.92 ERA, 1.7- WHIP and 13.1 K/9 in 12.1 innings. Lowe pitched briefly in Cleveland last year. He last faced the Tribe in 2012; he has a 1.84 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 8.0 K/9 in 14.2 innings. In Beimel's 13 year career, he has just 7.1 effective innigns vs. the Indians, 1.23 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 8.6 K/9.

On the Shelf

  • SP Hishashi Iwakuma [15 day DL], possible late June return
  • RP Tyler Olsen [15 day DL], possible late May return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

-

-

-

-

-

-

2014

2

4

333

16

17

472

Last 5*

19

18

514

162

148

541

Last 10*

44

38

537

386

337

562

All-Time

57

57

500

546

514

528

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: While the Tribe badly needs to take three of four, I think they will be lucky to get the split. Three lefties doesn't bode well. For this offense. I think Kluber outduels Paxton with Gomes back behind the dish and  Bauer dominates Walker. I don't like the Marcum matchup and for some reason I have a bad feeling with the Happ matchup. I will still call for a four game split.