Seattle Mariners April Schedule: Rangers, Tigers, Angels May Prove Too Much

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | After a strong showing in spring training, many believed the Seattle Mariners would get off to a strong start in the regular season.

Unfortunately, through the first nine games of the regular season the Mariners are 4-5 with losses to the Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros. During their five losses, the Mariners have given up a staggering 38 runs.

With a few tough series looming, the Mariners need to stifle the offenses of the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Angels to finish April on a high note.

Texas Rangers (Home: April 11 - April 14; Away: April 19 - April 21)

First up for the Mariners is a home series with the Texas Rangers. Through April 9, the Rangers are 6-3 on the season. Adrian Beltre, a four-time Gold Glove winner and three-time Silver Slugger, seems to have shaken his early-season rust and has now has 6 hits and 3 RBIs after going 0-for-9 with two strikeouts in his opening two games. With over 30 home runs in each of the last two seasons, and one already on the books for this year, Beltre can be a dangerous batter to face. As a former Mariner, he is familiar with Safeco Field and with the shortened outfield (fences were brought in as much as 17 feet during the offseason), Beltre is one to watch during the Texas series.

Another interesting development is the pitching rotation for the Texas Rangers. With Matt Harrison being placed on the 15-day disabled list with back issues, the Rangers will rely heavily on Yu Darvish over the next few weeks. The Mariners must be able to produce runs to match Texas.

Detroit Tigers (Home: April 16 - April 18)

Through their first 8 games, the Detroit Tigers have the best batting average in Major League Baseball (.298) and the second highest on-base percentage (.357), but they have failed to convert enough and are 4-4 to start the season. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera has been the hot bat for the Tigers thus far this season, with 11 hits and 10 RBIs for a .394 batting average. Not far behind is first baseman Prince Fielder, who has also been enjoying a fast start this year. He has 8 hits and 10 RBIs for a .310 batting average.

The Mariners' pitching and defense will need to be dialed in to limit the offensive productivity of this Detroit duo.

Los Angeles Angels (Away: April 25 - 28)

At the tail end of April, a road trip to Los Angeles will test the Mariners again. The Los Angeles Angels have gotten off to a rocky start (2-5) this season and with star pitcher Jered Weaver out for the next 4-6 weeks with a broken left elbow, the Angels will need the rest of their team to step up.

The key player to watch out for during this series will be Josh Hamilton. The Angels picked up Hamilton as a free agent in the offseason, and as the highest-salaried player on the team this season, he has failed to produce thus far. Through his first 8 games, Hamilton is batting just .138, with 4 hits and 3 RBIs in 29 at-bats. He also has 11 strikeouts. If Hamilton can't get out of his slump, the Mariners should have a better chance at besting the Angels. Of course, Albert Pujols may have other plans.

A native Washingtonian, Brianna Brooks is an avid sports enthusiast who has been following the Seattle Mariners since the "Refuse to Lose" run in 1995. From the Kingdome to Safeco Field, she has experienced the ebb and flow of the Mariners' seasons and has translated her passion for baseball into freelance writing.

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