Dustin Ackley #13 of the Seattle Mariners on a fly out against the Texas Rangers in the 8th inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 15, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

by Curtis Crabtree
KJR reporter
Twitter: @Curtis_Crabtree

SAFECO FIELD - Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon didn't temper his words when reflecting on a dismal road trip to Texas and Miami.

"We had a horses--- road trip," McClendon said.

The Mariners went 1-6 on the road trip and have lost eight of their last nine games. The starting rotation has struggled to pitch deep into games. The bullpen has been overtaxed and floundered at times and the offense has sputtered.

Not exactly a recipe for success. McClendon still believes his team will work their way out of it.

"We'll get it back together. This team is going to be fine," McClendon said.

Over the six game losing streak, Seattle starters have worked past the sixth inning just once. Four of the six starts lasted less than five innings with Erasmo Ramirez pitching just two innings against Texas and Chris Young working just three innings in Miami.

Luckily for Seattle, they get Felix Hernandez on the hill Monday night to face off against arguably the worst team in the American League in the Houston Astros.

Hernandez has been stellar in his first four starts of the season. He's 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA and would have been 4-0 if not for a late bullpen collapse against Texas. Hernandez should also take strain off a bullpen that could use a light workload.

McClendon also continues to shake up the lineup in an effort to find some more success offensively.

Dustin Ackley has been moved into the second spot in the order with Brad Miller dropped to ninth. Miller was hitting just .194 while Ackley is batting .279.

"We've been playing with the lineup the last three of four days trying to get a little bit more production," McClendon said. "Hopefully, [Ackley] will give us a spark."

Injury Updates:

Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to make a rehab start in Tacoma with the Rainiers on Tuesday. However, the weather doesn't look particularly promising with rain in the forecast. McClendon said there isn't a contingency plan at the moment should the game get rained out.

James Paxton is progressing on his rehab schedule from the strained lat muscle suffered during the opening homestand. McClendon said he's still on schedule to be back pitching in 6-8 weeks from the initial injury. The injury occurred on April 8. The six- to eight-week window would be from May 20-June 3.

McClendon didn't say Paxton would be back in the rotation at that point, but that he should be back pitching.

Taijuan Walker is scheduled to meet with the doctor on Wednesday to determine if he can resume playing catch. McClendon said he's "feeling better." However, Walker is still likely a couple weeks away from heading out on another rehab assignment.


Houston Astros

2B Jose Altuve
CF Dexter Fowler
C Jason Castro
RF George Springer
1B Marc Krauss
LF Alex Presley
DH Matt Dominguez
3B Marwin Gonzalez
SS Jonathan Villar

LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.50 ERA)

Seattle Mariners

CF Abraham Almonte
LF Dustin Ackley
2B Robinson Cano
DH Corey Hart
1B Justin Smoak
RF Stefan Romero
3B Kyle Seager
C Mike Zunino
SS Brad Miller

RHP Felix Hernandez (3-0, 1.91 ERA)