(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle Mariners (71-58) completed a successful road trip winning six of nine including the first-ever full-series sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The Mariners find themselves one game up on the Detroit Tigers in the battle for the No. 2 Wild Card berth and just five games back of the Oakland Athletics, who currently hold the No. 1 Wild Card spot.
The 50-79 Texas Rangers are in town for three games as the M’s get a chance to turn around what’s been a sub-.500 season series versus their division rivals. Seattle has won five of 12 contests with Texas, one of just three American League clubs against which the Mariners do not have a winning record (Minnesota, Baltimore).
The Rangers have been decimated by injuries this season and enter this series without the services of an entire starting rotation that otherwise would have included Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and either Tanner Scheppers or Alexi Ogando. All of the above are on the disabled list, as are Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar and Mitch Moreland, all whom were expected be to be significant contributors in 2014.
Pitching Matchups | Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
Monday, 7:10 PM PDT: Roenis Elias, LHP vs. Miles Mikolas, RHP
Elias struggled last time out in Philadelphia but his velocity remains, as does the movement on his pitches. What he hasn’t had is command of said pitches, particularly the curveball, his best pitch.
Elias has not been finishing his pitches through his release point, at least not consistently. If and when he does so, he’s still a legitimate mid-rotation option.
Still, there’s some level of concern about his workload, as he’s sitting at 138 2/3 innings plus his spring training slate and the five he tossed for Triple-A Tacoma earlier this month. His career high is the 148 1/3 he tossed two years ago in High Desert.
Elias Splits (big-leagues):
LHB: .207/.296/.360, 3 HR
RHB: .250/.328/.399, 12 HR
Home: 4.50 ERA, 7 HR, .240 BAA
Road: 3.65 ERA, 8 HR, .242 bAA
Elias vs. Rangers
Elvis Andrus: 1-5, BB, SO
J.P. Arencibia: 1-4, 2B, SO
Adrian Beltre: 1-3, 2B, SO
Michael Choice: 1-5, BB, 2 SO
Shin-Soo Choo: 0-2, BB
Leonys Martin 0-3, 2 SO
Alex Rios: 2-5, 2B, BB, SO
Scouting Miles Mikolas
Grades reflect 20-80 scouting scale; 80 is outstanding, among league’s best, 50 is major-league average, 20 is poor, not in line with big-league standards.
Four-seam Fastball (91-94 mph): 55
Two-seam Fastball (91-95): 55
Slider (85-87): 45
Curveball (73-76): 45
Changeup (83-86): 45
LHB: .282/.350/.445, 3 HR
RHB: .316/.371/.495, 5 HR
Home: 13.73 ERA, 4 HR, .385 BAA
Away: 3.34 ERA, 4 HR, .220 BAA
Mikolas, 26, can touch 96 with the fastball but lacks consistency with fastball command and both breaking balls. In stints, the slider can flash plus but he’s not afraid to use the curveball to change the eye level and slow things down for the batter.
The changeup is below average but he will throw it to lefties.
With two strikes Mikolas can climb the ladder and gets swings and misses with the four-seamer. His two-seamer runs away from lefties and in on righties, but his below-average command of the pitch can burn him if he catches too much of the plate.
This will be Mikolas’ first appearance versus Seattle.
Tuesday, 7:10 PM PDT: James Paxton, LHP vs. Nick Martinez, RHP
Paxton’s last start notwithstanding, he’s battled through starts without his best stuff and command and even ast time out in Philly issues just two bases on balls and fanned five of the 22 batters he faced.
Paxton has a wipeout curveball, useful cutter-slider and changeup while pitching comfortably at 92-95 mph with his fastball. He can dial it up to 97-98 with life up in the zone and when he’s repeating his delivery is one of the better lefties in baseball.
He’s turned his fastball into a two-way weapon; batters will swing and miss or pound the ball into the dirt at times, generating ground ball outs at nearly 55 percent. This helps Paxton remain efficient and avoid deep counts where he might become a little more predictable.
Paxton has not faced any of the current Rangers bats.
RHB: .242/.273/.432, 3 HR
Home: 3.18 ERA, 2 HR, .238 BAA
Road: 1.69 ERA, HR, .222 BA
Scouting Nick Martinez
Four-seam Fastball (89-93 mph): 50
Two-seam Fastball (89-92): 45
Cutter (87-90): 40
Slider (83-85): 40
Curveball (75-78): 45
Changeup (84-86: 40
Martinez vs. Mariners
Dustin Ackley: 1-3, 2B
Robinson Cano: 0-2, BB
Brad Miller: 0-3
Austin Jackson: 2-5
Mike Zunino: 0-3, 2 SO
Kyle Seager: 3-3, 2B
LHB: .302/.393/.502, 8 HR
RHB: .286/.322/.460, 7 HR
Home: 7.52 ERA, 7 HR, .315 BAA
Road: 3.99 ERA, 8 HR, .284 BAA
Martinez has below-average stuff, below-average command, lacks an out pitch, is a severe fly ball pitcher and struggles mightily versus left-handed pitching. Sound familiar? Sound like Hector Noesi, Kevin Correia and Jerome Williams, three pitchers that have shut down the M’s lineup this season?
Martinez has been consistent in getting through at least five innings — he’s done so seven straight times out — but he’s pitched into the seventh inning just once. The Rangers’ bullpen may be tested early in this series, and that’d be an especially good thing for Seattle.
Wednesday, 3:40 PM PDT: TBA vs. Colby Lewis, RHP
Felix Hernandez was slated for this game but the M’s will push him back to Friday versus Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals, allowing The King two extra days of rest. The money is on Erasmo Ramirez making this start; he’s scheduled to go Tuesday for Triple-A Tacoma. Ramirez has been terrific of late for the Rainiers.
Scouting Colby Lewis
Four-seam Fastball (88-90 mph): 50
Two-seam Fastball (87-89): 45
Slider (81-85): 45
Curveball (75-78): 45
Changeup (83-85: 40
Lewis vs. Mariners
Ackley: 3-15, 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO
Cano: 4-8, 2 BB
Brad Miller: 2-7, BB
Jackson: 10-24, 3-2B, HR, BB, 7 SO
Zunino: 1-4, HR, 3 SO
Seager: 7-17, 2B, HR, 2 SO
Endy Chavez: 1-3, SO
Kendrys Morales: 1-6, 2B, 2 SO
LHB: .356/.408/.526, 7 HR
RHB: .277/.326/.463, 10 HR
Home: 7.17 ERA, 12 HR, .344 BA
Road: 3.64 ERA, 5 HR, .291 BAA
Lewis has been solid at times this season but is prone to the blow-up outing, as can be seen versus the Angels August 16 and back on July 10 against that same Halos club. Lewis will throw strikes generally, and while his stuff is down a tick from his prime years the 35-year-old still gets swing and misses on his breaking stuff.
Lewis may be best known this season for complaining about Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus bunting for a hit in the fifth inning of a 2-0 game July 21 against a Rangers shift and then not stealing second base.
Cry me a river.
Schedule Notebook | Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
Setting up the week among the Mariners’ division and Wild Card competitors, two of them are playing each other in Kansas City as the Yankees take on the Royals for two games before heading to Detroit for two and Toronto for two more.
The Royals will host the Twins for two and the contending Cleveland Indians for three over the weekend. The Angels host Miami for three and then the A’s for four games Thursday through Sunday. The A’s have three in Houston prior to their trip to Anaheim.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)