After opening a nine-game trip by overtaking Detroit for the second AL wild-card spot, the Seattle Mariners will try to stay there with some similar success in Philadelphia.
The Mariners play at Citizens Bank Park for the first time Monday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Phillies.An 8-1 win Sunday in Detroit completed a series win for the Mariners (67-56) and gave them a half-game lead over the Tigers for the final playoff spot."They're all big wins at this point, regardless of who we're playing," pitcher Chris Young told MLB's official website. "Obviously, they're a great club, a great team that's been where we want to go. To come in here and win two of three is big."Chris Denorfia went 3 for 5 with an RBI triple, Austin Jackson collected two hits against his former team and Kyle Seager was 2 for 4 with three RBIs to give him 10 in his last 11 games. Robinson Cano went 5 for 11 with six runs scored in the series and has a nine-game road hitting streak.The Mariners have won 10 of 12 and are yet to allow five runs in a game this month, posting an MLB-best 1.89 ERA in 15 contests. Roenis Elias gets the call to continue the strong pitching.Elias (9-9, 4.14 ERA) threw five no-hit innings with one walk and six strikeouts for Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday and will be recalled. The left-hander, who had been sent down for a short start to limit his innings, is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA over his last four big league starts. His 134 2/3 innings pitched rank second among rookies."He's going to be successful back up there, the way he was throwing the ball so well," Tacoma pitching coach Jaime Navarro told MiLB.com. "If he can do that and keep his emotions together and not try to do too much, I'm telling you, he's going to be really something to watch."In three interleague starts, Elias is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 18 innings. He'll now face a slumping team in Philadelphia (54-70), which has dropped seven of nine after Sunday's 5-2 loss in San Francisco.Ben Revere continued to hit by going 7 for 10 in the last two games of the series and is batting .382 in 24 contests since July 22, which trails only Denard Span."He's on fire the way he's putting the ball in play," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's continued to use the whole field and finding holes."The team, though, went 4 for 23 with runners in scoring position in the series.The Phillies will hand the ball to Jerome Williams (0-0, 3.38) as he makes his second start with them after being claimed off waivers from Texas on Aug. 7.The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings of Tuesday's 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels."It's just trying to help in any way possible," Williams said. "I don't think it's like an audition or anything like that. The only thing I'm thinking about is performing. Whatever the team asks me to do I'll do."Williams will again face an AL opponent, which has resulted in a 2-5 record and 6.60 ERA in three starts and 23 relief appearances this season. In seven career starts against Seattle, he's 5-2 with a 4.12 ERA.The Mariners own a 7-2 edge in the all-time series and swept a three-game set in its only previous trip to Philadelphia in 2003.
Roenis Elias throws curveballs 23.3 percent of the time, which is fourth most in the AL among qualified starters this year. Domonic Brown has a .917 OPS in plate appearances that end in a curveball from a lefty pitcher, that's .261 points higher than the league average.