After series wins against a red hot Baltimore Orioles club and the struggling Cincinnati Reds, the Mariners look ahead at a couple of home series against the Oakland Athletics and the Minnesota Twins.

Oakland Athletics 5/23-5/25

The Athletics are coming off of a week of helping the Mariners in their quest for the top spot in the AL West. They completed a home sweep of the Texas Rangers highlighted by a walk-off grand slam by Khris Davis in Game 2, then proceeded to lose their remaining four games at home against the New York Yankees for a record of 3-4 for the week. Their overall record is 19-26 and the team is in 4th place in the AL West.

Who’s Hot: 3B Danny Valencia Last 7: .407, 4 HR, 9 RBI  Season: .348, 6 HR, 14 RBI

Who’s Cold: C Stephen Vogt Last 7: .190, 0 HR, 0 RBI Season: .250, 3 HR, 7 RBI

Projected Pitching Match Ups:

5/23 Sea: Walker 2-3 2.95 Oak: Hill 6-3 2.54

5/24 Sea: Karns 4-1 3.33 Oak: Graveman 1-6 5.48

5/25 Sea: Iwakuma 2-4 4.39 Oak: TBD (Sonny Gray Spot)

Oakland’s starting pitching this year has been a massive disappointment. Their usually reliable ace Sonny Gray had an abysmal start to his 2016 campaign with a 6.19 ERA including a 9.61 ERA in May before being placed on the DL over the weekend. Overall the team ERA is ranked 28/30 at 4.87. In order to capitalize, the Mariners will need to take advantage of the bad starting pitching and score runs early, something they have massively improved on from 2015 to 2016.

Minnesota Twins 5/27-5/29

If Oakland’s start looked bad, shield your eyes, because Minnesota has had an even rougher go of things to begin the season. Coming out of the gate they went toe to toe with Atlanta to see who could lose more games to start the season culminating in a tie of 9 straight losses. Over the past week they have had a rough time as well losing 6 of their 7 games, 3 to the Tigers and then 3 out of 4 to the Blue Jays. Overall the Twins have a record of 11-32 and are dead last in the AL Central.

Who’s Hot: SS Eduardo Nuñez  Last 7: .292, 1 HR, 4 RBI Season: .331, 3 HR, 17 RBI

Who’s Cold: 2B Brian Dozier Last 7: .148, 0 HR, 0 RBI Season: .208, 4 HR, 14 RBI

Projected Pitching Match Ups:

5/27 Sea: Hernandez 4-3 2.21 Min: Hughes 1-7 5.55

5/28 Sea: Miley 5-2 4.50 Min: Nolasco 1-2 4.74

5/29 Sea: Walker 2-3 2.95 Min: Santana 1-2 3.13

OK, so maybe Eduardo Nuñez does not really count as a hot hitter, but it is hard to pick a player for that category when it seems the whole team is in a cold spell right now. Just like the Reds series, the Mariners need to take advantage of an under-performing pitching staff ranked 29/30 in total team ERA at 4.96.

Overall both of these series on paper look to be in the Mariners’ favor. Coming off playing the worst pitching staff in baseball (Cincinnati) they will now get to play against the 28th and 29th ranked teams. Starting the week Seattle has a 1.5 game lead on Texas and they will hope to widen the gap with a couple series wins, while the Rangers play the Angels and Pirates at home. The Mariners will also be looking to improve upon a mediocre home record of 8-10 despite their impressive 18-7 record on the road.

This week looks to be another good one for the Seattle Mariners and their cautiously optimistic fans who are hoping that this amazing start to the season is leading to their first postseason appearance since 2001 and not yet another year of false hope and heartbreak.

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