Jul 31, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley (13) is caught stealing and is tagged by Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson (2) during the 5th inning at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Toronto 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Monday: R.A. Dickey (8-11, 4.66 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4, 2.76 ERA)
Tuesday: Josh Johnson (1-8, 6.60 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (11-4, 2.30 ERA)
Wednesday: TBA vs. Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.27 ERA)
The Mariners are coming off a 2-4 road trip on the East Coast, after dropping a couple heartbreakers in Boston and salvaging the trip in Baltimore. While it would be nice to have another eight-game win streak, 2-4 with two games that should’ve been won isn’t a huge disappointment. Nonetheless, the Mariners return home to face another AL East foe, the Toronto Blue Jays.
At the beginning of the season, the first two games of this series would have looked like quite the duo of pitcher’s duels. Now, it just looks like two games that the Mariners should win handedly. R.A. Dickey has fallen back to earth after spending last season pitching out of this world. Ironically enough, he’s pitching more like he did in his short stint as a Mariner than he is the Cy Young winner of last season.
Toronto’s only other scheduled starter, Josh Johnson, has also dramatically underperformed this season. What once was one of the top starting pitchers of the National League has now lost his luster in the American League after a couple of surgeries. Matching up against Felix Hernandez in game two, Johnson will have to return to his form of years past.
Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders seem to each have hit his stride – at least for now. After getting called back up from Tacoma, Smoak was on fire before cooling off for about a week, but it seems as though he’s back to raking. He’s on a five-game hitting streak, including three consecutive multi-hit games.
The Blue Jays, like the Mariners, have seen more success at home than on the road. That, combined with Seattle throwing its dynamic duo of Hisashi Iwakuma and King Felix, points to a Mariners series win. Though, with all the Canadians in town, it shouldn’t be much of a home field advantage for the M’s.