Seattle Mariners enter Houston on a high note

ON A ROLL:  The baseball season, more than the other sports because of its length, can be full of peaks and valleys.  After a strong start, the Seattle Mariners dropped eight games in a row.  They rallied to snap this slide on a three-run walk off home run last Wednesday by Kyle Seager against the Astros.  The Mariners came out of their slide, and its been a week of fantastic baseball.  Seattle took two of three from the Texas Rangers to end their home stand last week, and then they took two straight from the New York Yankees in the Bronx in a rain shortened series.  The Mariners are 5-1 over their last six games, and they now find themselves closer to .500 at 12-14.

After a slow start, Kyle Seager gave the Mariners offense a boost in the arm with five home runs over the last week.

After a slow start, Kyle Seager gave the Mariners offense a boost in the arm with five home runs over the last week.

SEAGER AND CANO:  Kyle Seager got off to a slow start.  Going into the Houston game last Wednesday, he had zero home runs.  Going into Houston tonight, Seager now has five home runs on the season, including the game winners against Houston and Texas on Sunday.  He has raised his average from .156 to .230, and his run production has been a much needed shot in the arm.  The spotlight then shifted to Robinson Cano, making his visit to Yankee Stadium in an opposing uniform.  Cano went 2-for-9 for the series but knocked in three of the Mariners’ ten runs in the two game sweep.  Cano is now one back of the team RBI lead (Justin Smoak has 15 to Cano’s 14) and is leading the team in batting average (.294) and OBP (.342).

THE ROTATION DELIVERS: The Mariners turned to two guys who might not have been in the starting rotation except for the injuries Seattle has faced in the early season.  However, both Chris Young and Roenis Elias handcuffed New York’s lineup to deliver victories.  Chris Young picked up his first victory as a Seattle Mariner on Tuesday as the veteran held the Yankees to three hits and two runs – one earned.  Elias, the left-hander from Cuba who skipped Triple A after making the rotation in Spring Training, struck out ten Yankee batters and allowed only six hits in a 4-2 Seattle victory.  It was a career high in strike outs and innings pitched for the youngster, and his best outing since a road win at Texas on April 14th.

LET IT RIDE:  The rain out on Wednesday allowed the Mariners to give Felix Hernandez an extra day of rest for his Friday start against the Houston Astros.  Like Seattle, King Felix cooled after a hot start getting a loss and two no-decisions in his last three starts; all the starts were Seattle losses.  The Mariners will then have their planned one-two combination for the first time this season as Hisashi Iwakuma will make his 2014 season debut on Saturday.  Brandon Maurer will pitch in the series finale vs. the Astros.  Maurer, after a strong first start in Miami, struggled against Texas in his last start allowing five earned runs in 3.2 innings.  Since taking two of three against Seattle last week, the Astros have gone 2-4 as this series will wrap up a nine game home stand.