Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Minnesota at Seattle
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, May 25, 2018
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

James Paxton has overcome a slow start to the season and looks to produce another solid performance when the Seattle Mariners host the Minnesota Twins on Friday in the opener of their three-game series. Paxton has posted a 1.70 ERA over his last five starts, a stretch that includes a no-hitter in addition to a career-best 16-strikeout effort.

Paxton allowed two runs and three hits in a complete-game victory over Detroit in his last turn. The left-hander will look to help Seattle get back on track after the club's five-game winning streak was halted with Thursday's 4-3 loss at Oakland. Twins slugger Miguel Sano, who will be back for the series opener after missing 24 games with a hamstring injury, is 4-for-8 with a homer against Paxton. Minnesota is kicking off a six-game road trip after having its three-game winning streak snapped with Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Tigers.

TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FS North (Minnesota), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Fernando Romero (2-0, 1.66 ERA) vs. Mariners LH James Paxton (3-1, 3.30)

Romero is coming off the worst of his four major-league starts as he allowed four runs - three earned - and three hits in five innings of a no-decision against Milwaukee. The promising 23-year-old didn't allow a run over his first 15 2/3 frames and has yet to give up more than four hits in a game. Romero, who was ranked as Minnesota's No. 2 prospect entering the season, has struck out 22 while issuing 11 walks in 21 2/3 innings.

Paxton has gone 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA while holding opponents to a .179 batting average in four home starts. The 29-year-old Canadian has fanned 10 or more batters on three occasions this season and has registered a total of 79 strikeouts in just 62 2/3 innings. Paxton is 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in four career starts versus the Twins, giving up two runs and four hits over five frames in a no-decision on April 5 - a day remembered more for having a huge eagle land on his shoulder prior to the game in Minneapolis while he was standing for the national anthem.

WALK-OFFS

1. Mariners DH Nelson Cruz is 2-for-22 over his last seven contests and has gone 15 games without a homer.

2. Minnesota optioned OF Jake Cave to Triple-A Rochester to open the roster spot for Sano.

3. Seattle RF Mitch Haniger (wrist) went 0-for-3 with a walk on Thursday after missing one contest.

PREDICTION: Mariners 4, Twins 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Minnesota 21-24 L1 11-12 10-12 3-10 7-3 5-5 6-6
Seattle 29-20 L1 12-10 17-10 2-1 15-8 11-10 1-1
Last Meeting
Minnesota Seattle
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
5/14/18 SEA 1 MIN 0 .129 0 .290 .182 0 .532
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Minnesota J. Mauer .364 4 .871
Seattle J. Segura .500 6 1.205
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Minnesota M. Sano 1 2 3
Seattle K. Seager 1 2 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Minnesota 4.33 .212 27
Seattle 2.77 .241 25
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Minnesota E. Rosario .295 52 .853
Seattle J. Segura .317 65 .784
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Minnesota E. Rosario 9 29 28
Seattle M. Haniger 11 23 36
Pitching ERA Avg K
Minnesota 4.29 .241 415
Seattle 4.13 .255 431