Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

(Courtesy of Ian Martin)

With the Sox hot, following a three-game sweep of the Royals, they will now face the AL West first-place Mariners in Seattle.

Opponent: Seattle Mariners
Record: 66-42, .611, First Place (AL West)
Place: SAFECO Field
Time & TV: Game 1: 9:05 p.m. (FSN); Game 2: 9:05 p.m. (WGN); Game 3: 3:05 p.m. (FSN);
2002 Record vs Sox: 7-8
2003 Record vs Sox: 5-1

THE LATEST
The Seattle Mariners have been sputtering since the break, going 8-7 since mid-July. Ichiro Suzuki leads the Mariners in batting average with a .341 mark, while Bret Boone leads in the power department with 28 homers and 87 RBIs. The Mariners also have 70 stolen bases as a team. The Sox miss the stud of the Seattle rotation in Joel Pineiro, but they still face a pitching staff with one of the best ERAs in the majors at 3.72. Shigetoshi Hasegawa leads the bullpen with a stellar 0.71 ERA, while Rafael Soriano has a WHIP of 0.85 and averages nearly 11 K's per nine innings.

WHO'S HOT (Last 7 days)
Randy Winn, LF: .400, 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB
--Winn has been just as hot as the Sox lately. He has been going deep regularly and is successful in 85% of stolen base attempts.

WHO'S NOT (Last 7 days)
Mark McLemore, RF: . 150, 3 hits, 5 K
--McLemore has seen his playing time shrink and with the acquisition of Rey Sanchez, he isn't helping his case.

PITCHING PROBABLES
Game #1:
Bartolo Colon (8-9, 4.09, 113 K) vs. Freddy Garcia (9-10, 5.17, 88 K)
--Garcia has been struggling mightily this season. He has been very streaky and the White Sox are catching him in the middle of a horrible streak. in July, Garcia had an 0-4 record with a 9.45 ERA. If the Sox score early on him, chances are he will have a breakdown once more.

Game #2:
Undecided vs. Ryan Franklin (7-9, 3.67, 64 K)
--Franklin has not been pitching as bad as his record indicates. His WHIP is down to seventh in the AL at 1.17, but like so many Sox pitchers, he has received little run support.

Game #3:
Mark Buehrle (9-10, 4.21, 81 K) vs. Gil Meche (11-7, 3.86, 91 K)
--Meche has been by far one of the most improved pitchers in the majors. However, he has lost four of his last five decisions and most teams have been going deep off of him. This is bad news for Meche, as that is exactly what the Sox have been doing.

KEY TO THE SERIES
Just keep the intensity up. The Sox have shown the Royals that they should be taken seriously. They need to now show up against Seattle so they can show the whole league.

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