Big week looms for Mariners
A road trip that many thought would turn the Mariners into “sellers” heading towards the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline instead gave the team reason to believe they could be in the AL West pennant race well beyond the deadline and into the dog days of summer.
Winning two of three from the Dodgers and Red Sox on the road is something few teams have done this season and it says a lot about the makeup and tenacity of this entertaining group of players.
But they can’t let up on the gas pedal. The upcoming week at home looms large.
The Mariners have three games against the Orioles starting tonight and then four against the Rangers — a division rival they have not defeated this season — beginning on Thursday night. Those four games could be even bigger in the big picture than any of the nine games played on the recent road trip.
It isn’t a coincidence that the rotation is set up to where the four best starters are set to face the Rangers, beginning with All-Star Felix Hernandez on Thursday night. It gives the Mariners an excellent chance to 1) end a five-game losing streak against the Rangers this season and 2) set the tone for a series that takes both teams into the All-Star break.
While the Mariners are playing the last-place, but still dangerous, Orioles of the AL East at Safeco Field, the Rangers are in Anaheim to face the Angels in a three-game showdown for first place.
After that comes what shapes up as one of the most important weekends of baseball of the season.
— Jim Street