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2020 Series Preview: Houston Astros @ Seattle Mariners

The Astros (27-26, 2nd in AL West) head on the road for the last 7 games of the season, starting with three against the Mariners (23-30, 3rd in AL West)

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Mariners Quick Notes

The Narrative

The Mariners are in the middle of a youth movement that, if you believe the talking heads from before the season, should have left them lagging far behind the Astros and A’s. However, poor play from the Astros has allowed the young team to remain in contention this season, and they are just a few games behind Houston as we head into the final week of the season.

If the Mariners somehow pull out the improbable, they will break the longest current postseason drought in professional sports and do it in a season that most people assumed would be a lost one. It will come on the backs of a young core of players that Seattle expects to be developing more than excelling at the MLB level, and could mean a jump start for the fans in terms of the future.

But all of that is very unlikely after the Astros won their series against the Diamondbacks and the Mariners lost 2 of 3 in their series against the Padres. The Astros’ magic number now sits at 3, which means a playoff berth could very likely be clinched by Houston during this series.

The Mariners are also returning to Seattle after a “home” series in San Diego that came about thanks to the ongoing smoke from fires burning in Oregon. Rain this past weekend has cleared that out though and it seems likely that the games will actually be played in Seattle.

The Offense

The biggest story out of the Mariners’ lineup is probably Kyle Lewis, who is beginning to draw some looks for Rookie of the Year. Lewis is slashing .280/.376/.465 this season and leads the team in both batting average and home runs (11). He has cooled somewhat in the month of September, but he’s still been flashing the leather in the field even if his bat hasn’t been as loud. He also has 30 walks and 61 K’s.

The Mariners also continue to boast one of the better catcher batteries in the division, with both Austin Nola and Luis Torrens ranking in top four for team OPS. While Nola clearly has the edge over Torrens and has played in 29 games versus 13, the catchers have combined for 9 doubles and 6 homers (5 by Nola) in 131 combines AB’s.

Ty France, who came over with Torrens in a trade with the Padres earlier this season, has also performed well at the plate. Though he’s only seen 16 games for the M’s in 2020, he has a decent .798 OPS.

Left fielder Dylan Moore has also been solid for the Mariners this season, slashing .261/.361/.507 in 2020. He has power and can crank out the extra base hits with 9 doubles and 8 home runs on his ledger. He also leads the team with 12 stolen bases, proving himself to be a speedster on the base paths. He’s done all that in just 37 games this season.

Kyle Seager remains steady in the lineup but rather unspectacular. His production is good enough to keep the veteran as a starter though, where he can help to teach the group of young players that M’s are hoping will develop.

One that hasn’t show much development this season is Evan White, who the Mariners locked up with a big contract during the offseason. So far he has yet to prove he’s worth it, slashing a paltry .178/.261/.331 in 157 AB’s. He also leads the team in strikeouts with 70.

The Bullpen

The Mariners’ bullpen has been pretty terrible this season, posting a group ERA of 6.02 with an 11-10 record for their relievers. That’s good enough for 28th in the league.

The closer for the time being seems to be Yoshihisa Hirano, who has successfully converted all three of the save opportunities he’s been called upon for. Hirano has only gone 11 innings for the team this season, but has only surrendered only 3 earned runs during those frames. All three of those came in back to back games at the begging of September, and he’s held opponents scoreless since.

Yohan Ramirez and Anthony Misiewicz seem to be the more trusted arms in the Mariners’ pen after Hirano. Ramirez has the better overall season stats with a 2.41 ERA in 18.2 innings, and has also logged three saves of his own. Hirano doesn’t often appear in back to back games, so expect Ramirez to show up if they need saves two nights in a row.

Misiewicz doesn’t look as good with a 4.42 ERA in 18.1 innings, but a majority of the runs that he’s surrendered have been spread out, with him only surrendering more than one run just 2 of his 18 appearances.

After that there’s really not a whole lot to write home about concerning the Mariners’ bullpen. The group has under-performed all season and will most likely continue to do so.

The Starters

The Mariners will send Marco Gonzales to the mound for the first game of the series. You may remember the lefty pitcher from Opening Day, when the Astros tagged him for four runs in 4.1 innings. He’s done a lot better since then though, going 6-1 with a 3.27 ERA in his other starts. He’s also had excellent command during that time, walking just 4 across 52.1 innings.

Game 2 will see RHP Ljay Newsome, who debuted earlier this season and currently owns a 6.35 ERA. This will be just the fifth game of his young career and the fourth start for the young rookie. He got slapped around pretty hard in his last start, giving up 5 runs in 3 innings and inflating his ERA to its current number. That game came after 8 days off thanks to taking a line drive off his hand in early September.

The final Mariner starter the Astros will see in 2020 will be Nick Margevicius, who is sporting a 5.35 ERA. Margevicius was moved into the rotation earlier in the season and had a pretty good start against the Astros back in mid-August. He pitched six innings in that one, allowing four hits and two runs across six innings, but ultimately was the losing pitcher thanks to a 2-1 final.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, September 21st @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM / Mariners - 710 ESPN, Mariners Radio Network
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Mariners - ROOTNW / MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Game 2: Tuesday, September 22nd @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM / Mariners - 710 ESPN, Mariners Radio Network
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Mariners - ROOTNW

Game 3: Wednesday, September 23rd @ 5:40 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM / Mariners - 710 ESPN, Mariners Radio Network
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Mariners - ROOTNW

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (11 votes)
  • 63%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (36 votes)
  • 12%
    Mariners Win 2-1
    (7 votes)
  • 5%
    Mariners Sweep 3-0
    (3 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now