A Mariners-Cardinals series is still a pretty interesting novelty. The two teams last played in 2013 in Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals took the series 2-1. You have to go all the way back to 2002, just a few days before the terrible week that saw the losses of Jack Buck and Darryl Kile, to find a trip out to the Emerald City, with St. Louis dropping that one 2-1. All in all, the Cards and M’s have only matched up 12 times since interleague play came along, with St. Louis holding an 8-4 edge. (Surprisingly, that’s not the lowest amount of games, though. St. Louis has had only nine games against Baltimore, the Yankees, and Texas each, and that includes Texas’s visit last week to Busch.)
Given that we don’t see the AL West all that often, I thought I’d check in with Megan Shear of Section 331 to get a little bit more knowledge about this weekend’s opponent. You’ll remember Megan from the Seattle Playing Pepper before the season and you can also follow her on Twitter @Section331. Give her a follow to see how the other side views this weekend!
C70: Given they are an AL West team, we don’t often focus on the Mariners. I’d heard they were doing well, but as of this morning they are at the .500 mark after a disastrous 10-game stretch. So what’s happened to the M’s as of late?
Megan: Honestly, my job has been a bit of a hindrance in watching games lately, but it would appear that all our plate patience suddenly just fell off the face of the earth. We’ve also been having a lot of starting pitching issues, with Walker and Felix being on the DL, but our offense, especially with runners in scoring position, has just disappeared suddenly. I’m not sure what’s happening, but that’s baseball, eh?
C70: What can you tell us about the pitchers the Cardinals will be facing this weekend?
Megan: Well, as of this writing, we have nobody announced for Friday’s game, so it will be a surprise for everyone. Nathan Karns is scheduled for Saturday. When Karns is on, he’s spot on; but when the wheels come off, they’re off for good. He has not gotten more than 5 innings into any game so far this year. It’s a tossup, really. James Paxton is our guy on Sunday, and he’s been great so far, but the defense is not helping him out much. He has no stats vs St Louis hitters, and neither does Karns, really, so it may be a big surprise for all of us.
C70: When Seattle visited St. Louis a couple of years ago, we missed King Felix due to an injury. Same thing is going to happen this time, unfortunately. How is Felix doing and when should he be back with the club?
Megan: Felix should be back soon; I think they had originally given him until the 12th of this month (15-day), but it turned out the calf strain was worse than initially thought, so right now I’m unsure of when he will return. I would hope the All-Star game would be the latest, but I think they may be doing the ‘day to day” thing with him at the moment. I can’t find nor have I heard any current updates on him. Since he’s the ace, I’d imagine they want to make sure he’s as healthy as possible before coming back out again.
C70: Even with news about the Mariners on the outside of our focus, many of us have already heard about Dae-Ho Lee. How surprising has his power surge been and is he the fan favorite that it appears he is?
Megan: I think a lot of people have been taken by surprise. I personally did not know what to expect, but I’ve been happy with him so far. And yes, he is just as loved by us as you might think. I was at a game the other weekend and the “Daaaae-Ho!” chants were reaching Ich-i-ro! levels of loudness in the park (and for anyone who might never have been to Safeco for this, it was very loud when Ichiro stepped to the plate). Fans show up with Korean flags, there is a contingent of people wearing “Dae-Ho Lee Grail” shirts around, people love him. I have heard rumors of Korean travel agencies booking Lee-inspired tour groups to Seattle to see him. He seems like a super humble guy, and we seem to really like that here in Seattle. He’s been a great asset so far.
C70: We’ll get to see former Cardinal Steve Cishek this weekend. How has he been doing lately? It looks like he’s made himself at home there.
Megan: He has his own closer video and everything! He’s been doing well so far, but will occasionally give up a dinger in the 9th. That’s par for the course with all closers though, you can’t get them all. Mariners Twitter always jokes about “danger up in this club” when he comes out (after his walk-out song). Frankly, I’d like to see a lot more of him sooner rather than later. A Cishek save is a fun save.
C70: If the Mariners win this series, how do they do it? If they lose the series, what would you expect the main culprit to be?
Megan: Offense, is the response to both of those questions.
I don’t get to see them often, but the Mariners are one of my first choices for MLB.tv when the Cardinals aren’t on and I’m looking for a ballgame. While I’m not excited about the late night starts, this should be a fun series to watch if only because the two teams don’t get together all that often so you’ll see some new faces. Let’s hope they build on the Cubs series and head to KC with some wins!