Aug 7, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Danny Farquahar (40) greets catcher Humberto Quintero (35) after the final out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Toronto, 9-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Friday – Kyle Lohse (7-7, 3.23 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (10-10, 4.58 ERA)
Saturday – Tom Gorzelanny (2-4, 2.78 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (10-5, 2.75 ERA)
Sunday – Wily Peralta (8-11, 4.42 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.39 ERA)
The Seattle Mariners return to interleague play with a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers beginning Friday night.
The M’s are coming off a tough series against the Toronto Blue Jays, in which the Mariners went 1-2. In true Mariners fashion, they lost games in which Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez gave up two and three earned runs, respectively, but they won the game in which Aaron Harang left after two-plus innings with seven earned runs. Their struggles weren’t aided much by a raucous group of Blue Jays fans who made Safeco Field feel like Rogers Centre.
Much of the Mariners’ issues arose from a subpar effort on the defensive side of things, including this opposite of a Web Gem from Raul Ibanez on Tuesday. Some have called it the worst throw of the year. Ibanez wasn’t the only with issues on defense, however — Kyle Seager had two errors and Brad Miller chipped in another that night.
Several players have been showing signs of life on offense for Seattle, including Kendrys Morales, who has gotten hits in eight of the past nine games, seven of those being multi-hit games. Brad Miller has hit well as of late too, with eight hits in his past five games including a double and a triple, raising his average from .237 to .257 in that span. Backup catcher Humberto Quintero also knocked in a two-run homer Wednesday to give the Mariners a 9-7 win.
Danny Farquhar’s three straight saves in three opportunities give every indication that he is the new closer for the M’s. Should he continue on his recent solid run — and should the Mariners play well enough that he gets a save opportunities — then Seattle shouldn’t have to worry about the bullpen blowing anything.
The Brewers haven’t had the best luck this season, ranking 21st in runs scored and 23rd in on-base percentage (for comparison, the Mariners rank 15th in runs scored and 17th in on-base percentage). By all counts, their pitching hasn’t been terrible, but they’ve fallen victim to quiet bats, bad defense and a very good NL Central.
23-year-old shortstop Jean Segura leads the team with a .314 average and is riding a five-game hitting streak. Jonathan Lucroy has emerged as one of the top-hitting catchers in the majors, batting .278 this season with 60 RBIs and 16 home runs. Outfielders Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez are both hitting above .280. Beyond those four, however, they have yet to field any other consistent producers.
Defensively, they’ve had plenty of struggles. While Segura has been a spark plug at the plate, he has contributed 12 of the team’s 85 errors on the season. That’s good for worst in the National League and tied for worst in the Major Leagues with the Los Angeles Angels.
With essentially its three best pitchers on tap for this series against a below-average Milwaukee team, Seattle has every shot at winning this series, as long as its defense avoids crucial errors and the bats can produce as they did in the final game of the Toronto series. At any rate, it’s doubtful a significant number of Brewers fans exist in the Pacific Northwest, so it should at least feel somewhat like a home game for the M’s.