Can the Mariners take a punch? Easy, easy, I’m talking figuratively.
I say that because the Tigers are in town tonight to open a three-game series. Item one in the Detroit memory bank is the Mariners coming to the Motor City, taking the Tigers apart April 24-26 in a three-game sweep, outscoring them 21-9. How good a stretch was it for the Mariners as they opened a long 10-game road trip? The Mariners hit .322 with four homers compared to the Tigers .232 and four homers. The M’s also had the better ERA – 2.99 compared with the Tigers’ 7.00. There were a number of Mariners’ hitting stars in that series: Ichiro 6×14, two RBI…Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Alex Liddi all went 5×14 with three RBI, and Michael Saunders was 4×12 with four RBI.
As aside: Sadly, after winning the first game in the next series in Toronto, the Mariners went on to lose the next seven; five games in that stretch were lost by only one or two runs. Hey, it’s a very young team still trying to find its way! There is a lot of talent still developing on a very public stage.
Item two is Doug Fister, the former Mariner righthander who starts tonight against Blake Beavan. Fister was a gamer here in Seattle. He rarely had adequate run support, but he took the ball every time he was asked and was always a max effort guy. He’ll have to control his emotions tonight going against his old pals.
Beavan, who has until recently done so well on the mound, is looking to re-establish command of his fast ball. It got away from him last Wednesday in a loss at Tampa Bay.
To beat the Tigers, who’ll throw Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander on Tuesday, the Mariners will need Kyle Seager to continue his hot hitting. Seager torched Minnesota in the weekend series going 4×11 with three runs scored, six RBI and a home run – he is for real and will only get better.
Item three: playing well in this series could give the Mariners good momentum as they head into another 10-game road trip that will take them to New York, Boston, Cleveland and Colorado.
Thanks schedule maker.
We’ll soon get an even better idea of what kind of chins the Mariners have for the long run.