The Seattle Mariners have hit a bit of a rough spot after spending most of the year looking like the favorites to win the AL West. By winning just four of their last 10 games, the Seattle Mariners are now four games behind the division rival Texas Rangers as the two teams prepare to do battle over the weekend. That means that if the Mariners could find a way to win at least two of three, they'll be able to pick up a game, and a sweep would put them just one game out of first place.
Winning this series would give Seattle the added benefit of cooling off a Texas team that has been red hot over the last few weeks. Finally, a series win this weekend would allow Seattle to get revenge for being on the losing end of a sweep to the Rangers last weekend. Prior to that sweep, the two teams had actually been very evenly matched, with both squads winning three and losing three in their head-to-head matchups.
One player who is expected to return for this series will likely be a big boon to the Seattle Mariners. Leonys Martin, who has plenty of experience with Texas considering he's a former Ranger, will be activated from the disabled list before tonight's first pitch. Martin's big bat will be a big advantage for Seattle. In 44 games, the outfielder has slugged an already career-high nine home runs and driven in 20. He's also stolen eight bases while hitting 0.262.
Martin landed on the disable list on May 26 due to a strained hamstring. The Mariners are expected to activate him despite the fact that his final rehab assignment was canceled Thursday night due to some unfavorable field conditions. When keeping that in mind, one might expect Martin is going to be playing DH tonight in order to ease him back and give that hamstring a little extra rest.
That surprising home run bat will be joining the resurgent Robinson Cano and the always powerful Nelson Cruz. Cano has 18 homers already this season, and Cruz has 15. Both of those sluggers have had a bit of a power slip when they are playing at home. The Dallas News points out Cano has just eight of his 18 home runs at Safeco Park, while Cruz has just six of his 15 dingers in his home park. Martin's power numbers are even more skewed, as he has just two of his nine round trippers at home.
The Seattle Mariners are hoping they can catch lightning in a bottle and get back to consistently winning after dropping the series finale against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
"I'm one to put this game away and be ready for a fun weekend," Cano told CBS Sports late Thursday night.
On the flip side, Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister seems to understand he can't take his team's recent success for granted.
When talking about the recent hot streak, Banister made the comment that "every wave hits a beach," adding that there is always another wave right after it. This seemed to indicate he believes his team is going to lose its stride at some point but will be looking to pick it right back up again should his team lose. The Mariners are one team that will be looking to knock the Rangers into that beach while Seattle starts a wave of its own. Considering the Rangers outscored the Mariners 20-9 in last weekend's series, it seems as though the Seattle Mariners have plenty of interest in having their wave crash all over the Rangers.
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