Two years into a five-year, $64 million contract, Adrian Beltre has produced a .262 average, 44 home runs, and 176 RBIs. However, after the All Star break in 2006, Beltre slugged .552 with a whopping 18 home runs. Does this strong second half bode well for a turn-around in 2007, or will Mariners fans have to deal with 'A-Drain' once again? This blog intends to follow the 2007 season for Adrian Beltre, and the Seattle Mariners, and promises to hold no punches.

Blowin' It

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Undoubtedly, this home series against the Angels was the biggest series of the season. And there was reason to be optimistic. The team had won 15 of 21 games before dropping the last two games of the series in Texas. They had the third best record in baseball, with an offense averaging seven runs a game and a bullpen that basically turned evey game into a seven-inning affair. And after playing so effectively at home, the M's were coming home for three games in the friendly confines of Safeco for three games against the team they were valiantly pursuing in the divisonal standings.

But now the M's have dropped the first two games of the series, stumbling four games behind the Angels and having their wild card lead in front of the Yankees trimmed to a game. The two losses couldn't have been more different. The first one, a 6-0 blanking by Angels' ace John Lackey, spoke of the M's woeful offense, which has struggled mightily against Lackey this season. Lackey has tossed 24 scoreless innings against the M's so far in 2007. By throwing a complete-game shut-out against them on Monday with a strep throat, he makes shutting down the M's offense look easy.

The offensive heroics we've come to expect from the Mariners' line-up returned with a start last night, when the first five batters reached against Ervin Santana, including three extra-base hits. The M's jumped out to a 5-0 lead, as Sanatan was only able to muster one out against the M's. However, for the most part, that was all the M's were able to manage against Angels pitching, as Dustin Moseley tossed five two-hit scoreless innings to keep the M's bats in check. Jeff Weaver allowed five runs in 4.1 innings for the Angels to get back into the game, and then Los Angeles blew it open against Brandon Morrow, scoring four runs against him in one inning as the game slipped away from the M's despite that early 5-0 lead, with the Angels coming out on top 10-6.

Adrian Beltre has picked up one hit so far in the two games, a two-RBI triple in the first inning of yesterday's game. Kenji Johjima has picked up four hits in seven at-bats with an RBI, while Ichiro has gone 3-for-9 with a triple. Richie Sexson, however, has gone hitless for the season so far.

Tonight's game features yet another match-up between Felix hernandez and Jered Weaver. These two somehow always seemed to get pitted against each other when these two teams face. Will the burden of preventing a three-game home sweep at the hands of the Angels be too much for Felix, who's exhibited a little bit of tendencies to get frustrated on the mound at times this season? Jered has usually came out on top in these match-ups, but the last time these two faced each other, Felix out-dueled Jered, holding the Angels to six hits in eight innings while the M's tallied up 20 hits against Angels pitching, barely pulling out a 8-7 victory. Seven Mariners, including Beltre, pciked up multiple hits in that game. Don't expect to see that again.

In fact, it's hard to pick Felix to beat his arch-nemeis Jered for two consecutive outings. Jered will re-discover his dominance against the Mariner line-up at Safeco. Though Felix will pitch a nice ballgame, Jered will pitch a better one. For a epresing conclusion ot he most important series of the season, I think the Angels are going to top the M's by a score of 6-5. Hopefully, I'm wrong and the Angels get blown out of the water. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

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