May 25, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners

Coming off an extra-inning win against the red hot Oakland A’s, the Boston Red Sox conclude their two city West Coast swing with three games against the equally hot Seattle Mariners, who are coming home after a three game sweep in Kansas City. The Mariners have won six of eight games overall.

Pitching Matchups

Monday:Felix Hernandez (8-2, 2.22) vs. John Lackey (8-4, 2.96)

Tuesday: Erasmo Ramirez (1-4, 4.62) vs. Jake Peavy (1-5, 4.52)

Wednesday: Hisashi Iwakuma (5-3, 3.04) vs. TBA

This is the first game against the familiar Red Sox for former Yankee Robinson Cano who bolted New York for a 10 year/$240 million contract with the Mariners during the offseason. Another former Yankee Jesus Montero, has rejoined the major league club this month after serving a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal as well as a stint in the minors. New acquisitions Logan Morrison (.164/.227/.295) and Corey Hart (.209/.295/.353, currently on the DL with a hamstring injury) have often been injured and ineffective. Kyle Seager leads the club in home runs (10) and runs batted in (47).

Though no official announcement has been made yet, Clay Buchholz (2-4, 7.02) is likely to come off the disabled list to start Wednesday’s game. Buchholz and the team were very encouraged by his most recent rehab start last Wednesday in Pawtucket in which he pitched six shutout innings and threw ninety pitches.

For a closer look at the Mariners, I posed questions to Dan Hughes, editor of the Mariners FanSided website SoDoMojo.com.

BSI: A recent hot streak has shown the Mariners can contend in the division because of the depth of their pitching. Do you think this can happen?

SDM: I think the Mariners need to get offensive help before the trade deadline to contend for a playoff spot. But with the payroll limitations we keep hearing that the team has, is unlikely they can get the kind of game-changing bat necessary.

I pegged this team at 83 wins prior to the season and I still stand by that.

BSI: Robinson Cano was the surprise signing of the offseason. The Mariners gave him a $240 million contract over 10 years. Morrison and Hart were added as free agents to beef up the lineup, but both have been hurt and largely ineffective. Did General Manager Jack Zdurencik do enough to surround Cano with enough protection in the lineup? Will they spend more this year if it might result in a playoff spot?

SDM: I liked the moves initially, they were low-risk, high-reward moves. But it was never enough help to properly protect Cano.

I go back to the previous question in that they need a bat or two, but probably don’t have enough in the bank to make it happen.

BSI: Red Sox fans know all about the Mariners’ all-world starting pitcher Felix Hernandez. Can you give us a scouting report on the other starters the Red Sox are going to see, Hisashi Iwakuma and Erasmo Ramirez?

SDM: If Felix Hernandez is the King, then Iwakuma is most certainly the Duke or the Knight. When Kuma is on his game, forget about winning, just try to think about the next game. He won’t overpower you with speed but his stuff has movement and he places it perfectly.

Ramirez is the court jester. Though he has pitched better of late, most Mariners fans can’t wait for him to be gone. He is incredibly hittable whether he is having a good day or not.

BSI: What one or two players would be a fit for the Mariners if they wanted to make a deal with the Red Sox? This is one team for which we know the answer is not going to be Dustin Pedroia.

SDM: I’m sure the Mariners would love to take back the David Ortiz trade [to the Twins]. But seriously, I’m not sure that they are good trade partners since the Sox re-signed Stephen Drew. Before that, I thought perhaps the Sox would want Nick Franklin.

Unless there is an interest in an exchange of prospects, I don’t see a trade between the two clubs happening this year.

Thanks to Dan Hughes of SoDoMojo.com for his help. His Twitter handle is @DEgan4Baseball.

For more on the week ahead in baseball tickets, check out the TiqIQ blog.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Clay Buchholz David Ortiz Felix Hernandez

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