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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 8th (All times Eastern)

Houston Astros (1-5) at Seattle Mariners (3-4), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Philip Humber (0-1, 1.59) Seattle - Joe Saunders (0-1, 9.00)

(Sports Network) - The Houston Astros are set to embark on their first American League West road trip, as they pay a visit to Safeco Field on Monday to open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners.

Houston is starting a nine-game road trip along the West Coast that will span 10 days. It has not been a pleasant start for the Astros in their new AL West digs, as they have dropped five in a row since a season-opening win over the Texas Rangers. The season opener was also the last time they scored more than three runs in a game. The Astros were swept at home this weekend by Oakland and were outscored 23-9 in three games.

Things won't get any easier on the road.

"It's a difference, because we now have a full slate of American League games and as we go through the division," said Houston skipper Bo Porter, "we're going to learn things about our division foes and they're going to learn things about us. It'll be constant adjustments as we go along."

After starting the year 2-0, Seattle has lost four of its last five outings. The Mariners were dealt a series loss at Chicago on Sunday thanks to a 10th inning walk-off home run by White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo.

If there were any positives to take from that outcome for Seattle, it is the fact that new acquisitions Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse showed the kind of production the front office envisioned when signing the duo to anchor the middle of the lineup. Morse hit a two-run home run in the first inning for his fifth homer of the year, while Morales went deep in the sixth to finish out Seattle's scoring. However, Morse went on to strike out four times and vented some frustration after the game.

"I think we're definitely underachieving," Morse said. "We've only played, what, a week of baseball? But I think we've shown some signs of what we're capable of doing.

"We're not getting the base hits as much right now. No one has clicked yet, really. It's early and there's a lot of baseball left."

The Mariners hope to turn things around beginning on Monday when they open a 10-game homestand. Lefty Joe Saunders takes the hill and will try to atone for his first start of the season, in which he gave up seven hits and four runs in just four innings of work against the A's.

Saunders has gotten to like Safeco Field over the years, as he enters the contest 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in nine starts on the visiting team.

Houston will counter with Philip Humber, who yielded only one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings against Texas. In 70 2/3 career innings against AL West competition, Humber boasts a 2.80 ERA.

Monday's game marks the Astros' first visit to Seattle since 2004.

04/08 10:31:37 ET

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