The Seattle Mariners are visiting the Cincinnati Reds this weekend sitting in first place in the American League West. Yes, it is the weekend before Memorial Day and the M’s are in first. Why is this a big deal? Because they haven’t been in first this late in the season (yes, it is just May) since 2003.
The Mariners head to Cincinnati after winning the series against the American League East leading, Baltimore Orioles. After starting the season 2-6, the M’s have now won eight of their last ten series.
The Reds on the other hand won three of their first five series but haven’t won one since. The Reds’ pitching staff has a combined 5.55 ERA and has allowed 69 home runs this season. Both of those are good for last in all of MLB. After a couple of nice performances in Baltimore, the Mariners’ lineup should be sitting dead red and ready for a productive weekend.
The Reds’ lineup doesn’t make up for the pitching woes, but are middle of the road in most categories including runs scored (ranked 19th in MLB), home runs (16th) and team batting average (22nd).
The probables this weekend are Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez and Wade Miley. Iwakuma will look to bounce back after a rough outing his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels where he gave up nine hits and four earned while striking out two in six-plus innings. King Felix will enter Saturday’s contest with a 2.47 ERA to go along with a 3-3 record. Miley will try to build off his six innings of shutout baseball against the O’s on Tuesday.
The M’s are set to face Dan Straily, John Lamb and Alfredo Simon. One interesting note from the weekend series is on Saturday, the Reds will giveaway a dual Ken Griffey Jr. bobblehead. The bobblehead will feature Griffey in both a Reds and Mariners uniform.
If this weekend series were played on paper, the M’s would still be in first place on Monday but they don’t. The Mariners need to take care of business because the second place Texas Rangers are playing the Houston Astros who have struggled so far this season.