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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

Topic: felix hernandez; c.c. sabathia; brandon maurer; joe saunders

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May 14, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Big offensive test coming up for Mariners on this road trip

We’re about to kick off a nine-game Mariners road trip with a gem tonight that sees Felix Hernandez facing C.C. Sabathia. And the way this trip lines up mound-wise for the Mariners, it’s going to be a huge test of their offensive ability to generate some runs.

We saw last week in Pittsburgh how, even with Hernandez at the top of his game, the Mariners nearly didn’t pull a victory out until a late home run by Jesus Montero. That’s because the Mariners were shut down offensively most of the day by Pirates starter A.J. Burnett.

We’re going to see some similar dynamics at play in this series against the Yankees, who don’t score as often as they used to but are still capable of putting up an average number of runs per contest. That means the Mariners will have to score an average number of runs to give themselves a chance at winning and it will be a challenge when they face the likes of Sabathia and others.

The one thing the Yankees have done very well this year is pitch. Not just the starters. When the Yankees get a game into the seventh inning, their bullpen is highly effective at shutting opponents down via strikeouts. And we’ve already seen that the Mariners are vulnerable to becoming invisible when facing strikeout pitchers. So, this will be one of those early defining tests for this offense. We’ll see whether they start to roll over again, as they did when facing the Tigers and Rangers a few weeks back.

Or, whether the Mariners can battle, even with two strikes on them in the count.

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