It's no secret: the hot ticket for this weekend's Mariners' series is Sundayís afternoon game. Letís see why:
Seattle isn't terrible. They enter this series a .500 team, which puts them in the middle of the AL West and the midst of a very large pack of teams that are somewhat viable Wild Card teams (which includes the Twins, by the way.) Theyíre also on pace for the 81.5 games that Vegas expected them to win this year. Thatís a lot better than they did last year when they won 71 games.
Itís easy to say the difference it the offseason signing of Robinson Cano. Cano, however, has been disappointing. He is still hitting for average (.301) and getting on base (.356), but his power has disappeared. The regular season is one-fourth complete and Cano has one home run. Joe Mauer has more home runs than Cano. Kurt Suzuki is out-slugging him.
You'll likely get to see Cano no matter which game you go to. He's played in every game this year for Seattle and has played second base in all but two of them.
However, you'll only get to "King" Felix Hernandez on Sunday, which is the first reason Sundayís game is the hot ticket this weekend. Hernandez has not been disappointing. He's been Hernandez: three-ish ERA, among the league leaders in strikeouts and on pace for 230 or so innings. Thatís been his profile now for 10 years - and he's just 28 years old.
He'll be facing Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who is pitching better than his 5.51 ERA suggests, but that's damning with faint praise. Nolasco has a 3.86 ERA since May rolled around, and his hit rate (11.4 H/9) suggests he's been a little unlucky. Seattle isnít a bad bet to assist his turnaround; the Mariners are twelfth in the AL in runs scored.
But if you canít see Felix, at least you wonít have to watch Kevin Correia take the hill. Mercifully, Twins fans wonít see him starting at Target Field until the next homestand Ė if heís still in the rotation. On Friday, Kyle Gibson (who has also been struggling lately) faces a rejuvenated Chris Young. On Saturday night, bring some extra cash for an extra round of beers, because Samuel Deduno faces Roenis Elias, a left-hander from Cuba that looks like heís every bit as wild as Deduno.
But the best reason that Sunday is the hot ticket is because itís going to be relatively hot, especially in the seats down the Target Field third base line. The forecast is for sunny and 70 degrees, which would be only the fourth time this year itís reached 70 degrees. Hopefully, this is the game that turns around the weather for the better this year. Donít you want to be a part of that?
Friday night is going to be on the cool side, but there are lot of tickets available, including some in Row 8 of Section 3 if you want a closeup view of Cano at second base. Tickets are quite a bit scarcer for the first Saturday night game of the year. And tickets are scarcer still for Sunday, though I see a pair just above the Mariners dugout that would be nice. All are an even better deal if you use the promo code DAILYDOUBLE, which will get you 10% off and supports Twins Daily. Whatever your needs, your local ticket supplier,Ticket King, can help.