Thursday, June 17, 2010

MARINERS: Cincinnati Reds Series Preview (June 18th – 20th)

We are only half way through June and many have proclaimed the Seattle Mariners’ season to be over. However, there is still baseball to be played in Seattle, including a weekend home series against the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds.

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The Reds are a surprising team this year, challenging the Cardinals for the top spot in the central and producing consistently on offense. Cincinnati leads the National League in both runs (329) and batting average (.278). A consistent schedule of high draft picks seems to be paying off for the Reds as the piece are falling together for a team that has been in the middle of the pack in previous seasons.

The Reds are lead by their hot-hitting second baseman, Brandon Phillips. Phillips is hitting .442 since May 28th and is a big reason why the Reds are a playoff contender in the 2010 season.

It will be up to the M’s pitching to contain this efficient offense. Two positives for Seattle are Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, who throw on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Lee has been solid all season, with a 4-3 record and only a 2.88 ERA, the only downfall being a lack of run support. Lee has a career record of 3-2 against the Reds, with an ERA of 5.77.

The Seattle offense is a continuing concern for fans, posting numbers in the bottom five of the MLB in both runs (228) and batting average (.241). The M’s offense is averaging less than 2.5 runs over their last 13 games, ten of which have resulted in losses.

However, the all-time series advantage belongs to Seattle by a total of 5-1. If the M’s offense can find its form and provide our two aces with some run support, the Mariners have a chance of winning the series and continuing to keep hopes above water in Seattle.

Tomorrow’s first pitch is scheduled at 7:10 and pairs Lee against Johnny Cueto (6-1, 4.50) who has struggled as of late. Saturday’s game faces Felix Hernandez (4-5, 3.61) against Cincinnati’s Sam LeCure (1-3, 3.75). These are both “winnable” games for Seattle. Sunday’s afternoon game features Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-6, 6.63) against Aaron Harang (5-6, 5.44). Keep your fingers crossed the M’s can show us there is still hope for the 2010 season; if not lets at least see Cliff Lee increase his trade potential.

Reach Kyle Fosnes at