M's Look to Ride 14-Game Streak into Second Half, Face Houston for Three

If you are not aware of what the Mariners have been up to these past four weeks, you must be living under a rock. In a span of 32 days, the Seattle Mariners have gone from losing four of five to the Angels, and ten games under .500, to now sitting at 51-42, nine games over .500, and winning 14 in a row.

Some might argue the All-Star Game has come at the wrong time, but others may disagree. Does the timing of the midsummer classic somehow kill the momentum of the red-hot Mariners? Or does the break come at an ideal time, with a possibility that the M’s get two of their best bats back, in 2020 Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis (concussion), and OF Mitch Haniger (high ankle sprain)? Another positive of the break timing was giving the pitchers the break they deserve. There were instances prior to the all-star break that some of the M’s relievers were having outings in 2-3 straight games, where Reliever Paul Sewald actually closed out two games on the same day against Washington, and Diego Castillo appeared in three straight games. Safe to say, the starters and bullpen were thankful for the timing of this break.

The Mariners enter the second half winning the most consecutive games heading into the break in MLB history (one shy of their franchise record of 15, set in 2001).

Friday’s game, a 7:10 start, has been announced as sold out, which is the first time since the 2022 home opener. As of Wednesday at noon, 40,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s day game and 31,000 have been sold for Sunday’s finale (both 1:10 starts). Friday’s opener is important for several reasons. One, to pick up where the M’s left off on Sunday, and two, Friday’s game will also be focused on next year’s midsummer classic, which is being held at T-Mobile Park in 2023, having post-game fireworks and the unveiling of the 2023 ASG logo. Tickets this series will be hard to come by if you are looking to go watch “America’s Team” on a budget.

Rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez put on a phenomenal show at his first HR Derby on Monday, hitting 81 total homeruns, which is second most ever in derby history. He will have home-field advantage next year when he goes for 100 total in 2023. J-Rod and Ty France represented the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, where their side won for the ninth consecutive year.

Seattle looks to continue their winning ways against the first-place Houston Astros tomorrow. Going into the home series beginning Friday, the Mariners currently sit nine games behind Houston in the AL West, and one game ahead of Toronto in the second of three AL wild card spots.

Houston faced the Yankees for a doubleheader yesterday before the weekend series against Seattle. The Astros starters against NYY were Christian Javier and Luis Garcia, meaning the Mariners will face Jose Urquidy (Fri), Justin Verlander (Sat) and Framber Valdez (Sun). Houston swept the double header against New York.

Urquidy is 0-3 against Seattle in 2022. Verlander is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.93 in four appearances against Seattle this season. His one loss to Seattle was an offensive explosion, where the M’s had four home runs and six earned against the Astros ace. Valdez has yet to face the M’s during this year.

Seattle and Houston are an even 6-6 against each other this year. The M’s will have Marco Gonzales starting on Friday, ace Logan Gilbert on Saturday and 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray in the finale. Lucky for the Mariners, Houston’s Michael Brantley, a career .284 against Seattle, will be out for the series with a sore right shoulder.

Seattle will look to tie a club record Friday night with 15 straight wins and go for their ninth consecutive series win. It’s tough sledding ahead for the streaking Mariners, where 13 of their next 20 games are against Houston and the New York Yankees, who have the best record in baseball.

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