Series Preview: Kansas City Royals

The Mariners enter Tuesday's series 11-5 in May and winners of five of their last six games. They'll look to keep it going against a young Royals team.

Safeco Field, Seattle, Wash.

Seattle (28-15, 14-8 home)
Kansas City (24-18, 11-11 road)

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, May 20th, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Ryan Franklin (3-2, 3.58 ERA)
Kansas City: Runelvys Hernandez (4-3, 2.78)

Wednesday, May 21st, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Freddy Garcia (3-5, 5.47)
Kansas City: Chris George (4-3, 4.87)

Thursday, May 22nd, 1:35 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Gil Meche (5-2, 3.06)
Kansas City: Jeremy Affeldt (3-1, 4.33)

Who's Hot?

While Edgar Martinez started off the last road trip on fire, it was Bret Boone and Ichiro who ended it with a bang. Boone has three homers in his last two games and is 8 for his last 22 from the plate. Ichiro is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball in May, where he has raised his average over 60-points to its current mark of .318. He's an amazing 14 for his last 27 and has begun to utilize his speed on the basepaths more frequently as of late. He had two steals in the Detroit series. On the mound Joel Pineiro is coming off back-to-back wins, including his best performance of the season - an eight inning, seven strikeout victory over the Tigers.

Kansas City:
Former Mariner Desi Relaford is coming off a big week from the plate, where he batted .321 with five RBI and two steals. First baseman Mike Sweeney, who has battled injuries through much of 2003, is starting to find his groove. He has 9 hits in his last 24 at bats. Carlos Beltran has also been plagued by injuries, but is putting a charge into the ball lately. He had two homers last week, but showed enough patience at the plate to walk six times as well.

Who's Not?

Freddy Garcia, scheduled to start on Wednesday, has had two rocky outings in a row and has seen his ERA balloon to 5.47. So far the M's have been able to compensate for his struggles with breakout seasons from Ryan Franklin and Gil Meche, but eventually they'll need "The Chief" to return to form. Catcher Ben Davis has only one hit in his last 13 at bats, which has caused his batting average to dip from .296 to .254.

Kansas City:
Third baseman Joe Randa and outfielder Michael Tucker are both mired in miserable slumps. Randa has just four hits in his last 39 at bats, dropping his average to .236. Tucker is just three for his last 25. On the mound, Runelvys Hernandez is coming off his worst start of the season. He gave up six earned runs in five innings at Minnesota. The 25-year-old right-hander has had a shaky May after a dominating month of April, having given up 15 runs (12 earned) in 18.1 innings pitched.

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