Mariners notebook: Could the Royals be the spark again?

Jun 22, 2015, 7:28 PM | Updated: 7:52 pm
The Mariners swept the Royals in Kansas City last season in what was a turning point for the team. ...
The Mariners swept the Royals in Kansas City last season in what was a turning point for the team. (AP)
(AP)

This should be an interesting series for the Mariners. The Royals come to town with the best winning percentage in the A.L., but with starting pitching is in a bit of disarray with Jason Vargas and Yordano Ventura on the DL.

The Mariners won’t have to face Chris Young this series, who up to yesterday had been stellar for the Royals. Instead they face Joe Blanton, who has pitched the majority of the season in the pen, Jeremy Guthrie and Danny Duffy, who will come off the DL to make the start Wednesday.

I can’t help but think back to almost a year ago to the day, when the Mariners played a three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City. Heading into that series the Royals were 39-24, but the Mariners played what I thought to be their best baseball up to that point and came away with the sweep. Two 2-1 victories, one comeback 7-5 win, stellar pitching from Roenis Elias and Young, three games of error-free ball and three consecutive Fernando Rodney saves added up to three wins.

It was very good baseball and what I thought to be a bit of a turning point in the season. I thought the team left Kansas City that Sunday afternoon believing or perhaps realizing that they could be in it for more than just showing improvement. That series may have made the playoff possibility that much more real.

The Mariners could use a series like that about now. The .500 road trip, the 6-3 homestand, and the 2 out of 3 from the Astros have not quite been convincing. Three days of clean baseball where the offense shows some life and the bullpen holds up perhaps could change that a bit. We’ve seen what this club can do when clicking on all cylinders, we need to see it more. They have played well against the Royals in the past. We shall see what happens Monday night.

Lineup!

Logan Morrison, 1B
Austin Jackson, CF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Mark Trumbo, DH
Seth Smith, LF
Brad Miller, SS
Mike Zunino, C

Felix Hernandez, RHP

Notes:

• With the Kansas City All-Stars in town it is a good time to check in on the All-Star voting. Nelson Cruz has made up some ground in the battle with Kendrys Morales for the DH spot and current trails by about 300,000 votes. Online voting continues until 8:59 July 2.

• James Paxton is still not throwing. The finger is still sore and he has yet to be cleared by the specialist to pick up a baseball.

• I talked to Felix Hernandez briefly about his son Jeremy catching one of the Father’s Day first pitches. If you haven’t seen it, you must. Six-year-old Jeremy is a tiny carbon copy of the King, and he obviously has been paying attention when dad is on the hill. Despite the fact that Felix would love to see him as a position player who gets to swing the bat, the kid looks like he might have a golden arm. To hear the proud papa, click here.

Date Starting Pitcher
Saturday, October 1 @ 1:10 pm

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Mariners notebook: Could the Royals be the spark again?