Kansas City, Missouri
Seattle (31-18, 14-7 road)
Kansas City (26-22, 13-7 home)
Tuesday, May 27th, 5:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Freddy Garcia (3-6, 5.90 ERA)
Kansas City: Chris George (5-3, 5.11)
Wednesday, May 28th, 11:05 a.m. ESPN
Seattle: Jamie Moyer (7-2, 3.66)
Kansas City: Jeremy Affeldt (3-2, 4.25)
Gil Meche is not just one of the hottest Mariners, he's one of the hottest players - at any position - in the big leagues. His success continued last week, as he held Kansas City to one run in 6.2 innings for the win. Meche's strike-out to walk ratio has been great all season as the 24-year-old has cut down on his base on balls considerably. He struck out seven and walked two last Thursday. At the plate, nobody has been hitting the ball better than shortstop Carlos Guillen. The switch-hitter has fought through nagging injuries to flourish in the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He has eight multi-hit games in May, and is 9 for his last 20, raising his season average to .318. Bret Boone is coming off another big week as well. He hit two homers and continued to be the M's leading run producer with 7 RBI in his last six game. Oh yeah, he batted .318 too. Ichiro didn't slow down last week, building on what has already been a torrid May with seven hits in 23 at bats.
The bullpen foursome of Jason Grimsely, Sean Lowe, Mike McDougal and Jason Gilfillan combined for 9.1 innings of scoreless relief. Starters Kris Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt each threw fabulous in their last outing. Wilson beat Oakland by allowing just four hits and one run in five innings. Affeldt was a hard-luck loser to Gil Meche and the Mariners, but had the Mariners off-balance all game. He gave up three runs in seven innings. At the plate, Raul Ibanez got sweet revenge against his former team, Seattle, with three homers in the three-game series. Up-and-coming shortstop Angel Berroa, a former Oakland farmhand who came over in the 2001 Johnny Damon trade, is 7 for his last 21 with a steal and a homer.
Several Mariners fell into mini-slumps from the plate last week. Randy Winn had the worst time, going just 4 for 23 (.174). Surprisingly, Edgar Martinez didn't fair much better. Edgar, who was on fire two weeks ago, had just four hits in 22 at bats. Mike Cameron (5-22) and Jeff Cirillo (1-9) each struggled as well. On the mound, Freddy Garcia's troubles continued. He made one outing, giving up seven earned runs in seven innings as the Kansas City Royals smacked three homers off of him. On a positive note, Garcia gave up six of the seven runs in the first two innings, then settled down and allowed only one in his next five.
Wonder why the Royals are just 3-9 in their last 12 games? Look no further than the offense, which has struggled mightily as of late. The stats tell all. Four every-day position players - Desi Relaford (IF), Ken Harvey (DH), Brett Mayne (C), Joe Randa (3B) - batted under .200 last week. Harvey went 2-18 on the Royals six-game road trip to Seattle and Oakland, numbers you don't want to see from your designated hitter. Randa, meanwhile, was just 4-24. He did crack two homers, however. On the mound, middle-reliever DJ Carrasco got touched up by the Mariners last Tuesday for four earned runs in 1.2 innings. He got the loss, his first of two Ls in the week, and saw is ERA raise 1.30 runs (from 1.90 to 3.20). Scott Mullen made one appearance, giving up two earned runs while recording just two outs.
Joe Kaiser is the publisher of InsideThePark.com. He is a sucker for a drag bunt down the first base line or a head-first slide into third base for a triple. Kaiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.