Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 8/23/14
Home Stretch As I mentioned previously in a post about whether or not the Seattle Mariners should shut down Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, the 2013 season for the club is once again coming to a disappointing end. While July had many believing the Mariners could finally eclipse that elusive .500 mark at the end of the year, a brutal August brought the club and its fans back to reality. Standing at 63-77 on the year, the Mariners aren’t statistically eliminated from the playoffs nor from reaching the .500 mark, but in reality we know it’s over. However, for those fans who just don’t want to say goodbye to Seattle baseball in 2013, there are still a few series left to play before the organization attempts to turn things around once again during the offseason. Kicking off the home stretch of games against Seattle will be the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that currently finds itself in the second wild card spot and battling with the Yankees, Orioles, Indians, and Royals to secure a playoff berth. Here’s a brief preview of what the Rays are bringing to town. September 6, 2013 – Rays at Mariners – 7:10 PM PT – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN Tonight’s contest will send Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound in what I think should be his last start. Boasting a 12-6 record with an impressive 2.92 ERA on the year, I think tonight should be Kuma’s final salute to fans in 2013. He’ll be back in 2014, but I’m sure he’ll try to head out of the season on a good note. Paxton will be making his first start for the Mariners on Saturday. Opposing Iwakuma will be Alex Cobb, a pitcher who has been just as stellar for the Rays. Owning and 8-3 record with a 2.82 ERA, Cobb has been a good surprise for the Rays and will look to continue his very impressive season. He’s faced the Mariners once this year (August 15) and came away with a victory after allowing just 3 hits and one run. September 7, 2013 – Rays at Mariners – 6:10 PM PT – ROOT Sports/710 ESPN The second game of the series will be a treat for those of us who have been waiting to get the opportunity to see James Paxton get his first start in the bigs. A pretty big prospect in the Mariners’ system, Paxton will be facing a tough Rays team and gain valuable experience in his first appearance as a starter. Chris Archer will attempt to spoil Paxton’s first start as he will get the ball for the Rays. He currently boasts an 8-6 record with a 3.14 ERA and previously recorded a loss in his only appearance against Seattle in 2013. In that game (August 13), Archer surrendered 9 hits and five runs. Let’s hope the Mariners can give that same support to Paxton tomorrow night. September 8, 2013 – Rays at Mariners – 1:10 PM PT – ROOT Sports/770 KTTH While most of the attention on Sunday around this time will be on the conclusion of the Seahawks’ game against the Carolina Panthers, fans who are more in tune with the Mariners will get to watch Erasmo Ramirez continue to improve on the hill. Though he can be a bit inconsistent at times, Ramirez has looked in form as of late and has been pitching much more effectively. Matt Moore will get the start in the finale for the Rays and will look to continue his stellar dominance. He’ll be facing the Mariners for the first time of the year and currently boasts a 15-3 record with a 3.27 ERA. It’ll be tough for the Seattle bats to really get anything going against him. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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