The Mariners woke up this morning in sole possession of first place in the American League West. That isn't something that's happened much. They will try to remain there tonight vs. the Astros and Dallas Keuchel - the reigning American League Cy Young award winner

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If you looked at the standings on the baseball page of the Seattle Times this morning, or more likely looked at them on some app on your smartphone, you would see that the Seattle Mariners are in sole possession of first place in the American League West with a 10-9 record.

Do you know the last time the Mariners were in sole possession of first place in the AL West this late into a season?

That would be May 5, 2009 when the team was 15-12. Interestingly that date was two games into a stretch where the Mariners would lose 10 of 12 games, leaving them 4.5 games out of first place.

Manager Scott Servais shrugged off any first place talk though he admitted that it’s been tough to avoid.

“I’ve gotten more text messages that we are in first place,” Servais said. “It’s good for our team that we are playing well. But let’s be realistic, we are 19 games into it. But I would much rather be in first than on the other side of it, near the bottom. We’ve played well. And that’s the key is how you are playing. You are going to go in streaks where the pitching is really good or maybe the hitting carries you for a while. I would say right now our pitching has carried us. We’ve had some nice offensive days. But once it really all gets clicking, then you have a chance to win nine out of 10 and really start putting something together. I’m not really looking at the standings yet.”

 

*** The Mariners are going with a little different looking lineup against Astros’ lefty Dallas Keuchel — the reigning American League Cy Young award winner. After hitting homers in the past two games, centerfielder Leonys Martin is getting a day off. He’d started all 19 games this season.

Martin is hitting .063 (1 for 16) with a homer, a walk and five strikeouts vs. left-handed pitching this season. So giving a day off against Keuchel with four straight games against right-handed starting pitchers upcoming is a good idea.

“We are trying to look ahead schedule-wise,” Servais said. “I wanted to get him a day (off). I want to get Aoki a day and maybe Robby (Cano) a day on this homestand and spread it out a little bit. I thought today would be a good time to give Leonys a breather.”

Martin has been better than expected at the plate in some aspects. He’s got three doubles and four homers with nine RBI. But the Mariners would like to see .210 batting average and .275 on-base percentage go up some.

 

 

Batter vs. pitcher matchups

Mariners numbers vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel

Astros numbers vs. RHP Nathan Karns

 

On this day in Mariners history

  • 1984 – Rookie Alvin Davis provides the fireworks in a 6-5, 10th inning win at Boston, as his two-run home run off Bob Stanley proved to be the game-winner.
  • 1989 – Ken Griffey Jr. leads the Mariners to a come-from-behind win over the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-6, with his first career four-hit performance.  Griffey goes 4×4 with three RBI including a game-winning home run with two out in the 7th inning off Jays’ reliever David Wells.
  • 1990 – This may or may not have been Griffey’s best catch, but it was probably the one that made it clear what a special talent he was in center field. On a drive by Jesse Barfield headed over the fence at Yankee Stadium, Griffey made a leaping grab that still is shown in the highlights.
  • 2001 – The Mariners complete a three-game sweep of the Yankees with a 7-3 victory. This marks only the second time the club has swept the Yankees at New York.
  • 2002 – After dropping the night’s series opener against the Yankees, Seattle is now 4-10 all-time at SAFECO Field against them. It marks the worst record against any opponent at home.
  • 2012 – The Mariners inched out a 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers to complete a three-game sweep of the AL Central leading Tigers. Justin Smoak hit a first inning 3-run home run.
  • 2015 – Roenis Elias made his 2015 debut, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits over 6.1 innings…the Mariners lost in 11 innings to the Twins 4-2 after going 0-for-12 with RISP…Manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected for the 1st time this season.

 

Pitching probables 

AL West Standings

 

Game notes

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