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Tampa Bay Rays (29-26) vs. Seattle Mariners (24-30) 7:10 PM PST
Pitching Matchup: Jake Odorrizi RHP (4-5, 2.61 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ LHP (3-1, 3.70 ERA)
Odorrizi: The Mariners saw Odorrizi in the opening game of the three game set in St. Petersburg, handing him his most recent loss despite the righty’s quality start. Jake went seven innings against the M’s, allowing only two runs, one earned and picking up seven strikeouts. The 25-year-old is having a very nice 2015 season thus far, but hopefully the Mariners can hand him another loss tonight.
May 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ (33) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Happ: After a great start to his Seattle Mariners career in which he went six innings or more in his first seven starts, Happ has come back down to earth a bit. Over his three most recent starts, the lanky left-hander has allowed nine earned runs over 13 innings of work. J.A. hasn’t notched a victory since May 9 against Oakland, so he will look to build on his 2.30 ERA at Safeco Field this season en route to a win.
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Tampa Bay Rays:
1. Brandon Guyer LF
2. Joey Butler DH
3. Evan Longoria 3B
4. Logan Forsythe 2B
5. Steven Souza Jr. RF
6. Jake Elmore 1B
7. Asdrubal Cabrera SS
8. Kevin Kiermaier CF
9. Bobby Wilson C
Notes: Seattle Mariners lefty Roenis Elias stifled the Rays bats last night, allowing only two runs over eight innings. Tampa Bay will be looking to get some redemption against southpaw J.A. Happ tonight. The young slugger Joey Butler has opened some eyes thus far in 2015, posting a .348 average which he aided with two base hits in yesterday’s contest. The Rays’ offense has struggled to produce runs in 2015, but they have some promising young bats surrounding veteran Evan Longoria, and could put up some runs if Happ doesn’t have his stuff.
Jun 2, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25, right) poses for a photo with Seattle Mariners right fielder Nelson Cruz (23) following the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
1. Logan Morrison 1B
2. Robinson Cano 2B
3. Nelson Cruz RF
4. Kyle Seager 3B
5. Mark Trumbo DH
6. Seth Smith LF
7. Brad Miller SS
8. Mike Zunino C
9. Dustin Ackley CF
Notes: In an effort to jumpstart a Seattle Mariners offense that is last in the American League in batting average, on base percentage, and batting average with runners in scoring position, General Manager Jack Zduriencik traded for power man Mark Trumbo. Well, in their first game with Trumbo, the Mariners handed Roenis Elias a 2-1 loss, managing only one measly run on 10 hits. The clock is ticking for this underachieving ball club, and if the offense doesn’t start cashing in on scoring opportunities, their time might just run out.
3 Things to Watch For:
1. “I Put the Team On My Back”
I feel like this is what Kyle Seager has written on the inside of his batting gloves or something, because it is pretty much what he does on a consistent basis. The all-star third baseman did just that when the Mariners were in St. Petersburg, when he hit a grand slam to give the M’s the lead, and then smacked a solo homer in the 10th inning to put the boys in blue ahead after a blown save by Fernando Rodney. The Seattle Mariners currently need Kyle Seager more than ever, and I expect him to deliver like he always does. I call a big homer from number 15 tonight.
2. Cruz Gives Them the Full Nelson
Nelson Cruz last homered on May 27, against the Tampa Bay Rays. His last homer at Safeco Field came back on May 12 when the Mariners were facing the San Diego Padres. With the offense struggling and the team needing a major jolt of energy, I think that it is about time for Nellie Cruz to break out the “Boomstick” again and join Kyle Seager in the home run parade.
3. The Bullpen is Key
It would be really nice if J.A. Happ could just go all nine innings tonight, but the chances of that happening are low. So far in 2015 for the Seattle Mariners, it seems that whenever the offense is struggling, the pitching is great, and whenever the offense is great, the pitching is struggling. Well, right now the offense is struggling mightily, scoring three runs or fewer in each of the last nine games. In fact, the Mariners have not scored more than three runs since Kyle Seager’s two homer rescue mission in Tampa Bay. I have a feeling that the bats are due to break out tonight, but the bullpen (particularly Fernando Rodney) will need to step up and slam the door shut. I look for a scoreless performance tonight from the guys out in left field.
Last Game’s Predictions:
1. Elias Bounces Back–HIT
This one is a tad bitter sweet, as Roenis Elias was handed the loss last night despite tossing eight innings of two-run ball. This has been a theme for the Cuban lefty, who is now 2-3 with a 2.94 ERA over eight starts in 2015.
2. Deuces Wild for Robbie Cano–HIT
Ok, so Robinson Cano and Austin Jackson didn’t produce a few runs like I predicted, but they did both pick up a pair of hits in the 2-1 loss last night. Cano also drove in the lone run for the Mariners, although he and Jackson did both strike out with a runner on second base to end the game.
3. I Don’t Have to Cry Anymore When Mark Trumbo Hits the Crap Out of the Baseball–HIT
Mark Trumbo didn’t waste any time in picking up his first hit as a member of the Seattle Mariners, knocking one through the six hole to start off the second inning. While he didn’t hit any homers, he certainly made a strong first impression, going 2 for 4 with a pair of singles. The Mariners needed a bit more than singles out of him last night as the offense floundered, but it was a strong debut for Trumbo none-the-less.
Hits: 25 Outs: 41 Batting Average: .379