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2021 Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @Houston Astros

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The Astros (10-11, 4th in AL West) play their fourth 4-game divisional series of the season as they welcome the Mariners (13-9, 2nd in AL West) to town

Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Mariners Notes

The Mariner head to Houston after playing quality baseball to open the 2021 season. They have been rewarded for their efforts with second place in the division and a head of steam that they hope can last longer as we close in on the end of April.

This team is young and just got back 2020 AL ROY Kyle Lewis, so their fortunes would seem to look good for the foreseeable future. Lewis hasn’t exactly exploded back on to the scene since his return though, but that’s probably more due to rust and fans can expect him to find his rhythm again soon.

However, some of their numbers don’t exactly suggest long term success for the M’s. Though there have been some great individual performances, Seattle’s offense ranks in the bottom half of the league in AVG (.216), OBP (.297), and SLG (.372). They have hit a lot of doubles this season (39) and are tied for fourth in the league in that department, but remain middling at best in almost all other offensive categories.

Still one thing this team has excelled at is clutch hitting late in games that has resulted in wins. Couple that with a bullpen that is third in the league with a 2.42 ERA across 81.2 innings of work, and you can begin to see why their record is where it’s at.

On the other hand, their starting rotation hasn’t really done them too many favors. With a collective 5-6 record and a 4.95 ERA, the starting pitchers have not put this team in the best position to win games that often. Of course there are exceptions such as starter Chris Flexen, who has been able to pitch to the tune of a 2.74 ERA in 4 starts so far this year. The Astros will miss him in this series though.

The Mariners are going to be looking to keep the good times rolling as they face off against an Astros team that seems to have gotten some of its life back along with its better players. To make things even tougher on the M’s, Jose Altuve is set to return from the COVID-IL and hopefully he won’t need much time to get back into the groove.

But still, Seattle has proven to be a resilient opponent during the early stages of the season so this series should be a good one.

Best Offensive Player: Ty France (.316/.409/.532 slash line) has gotten off to a hot start for the Mariners and currently leads the team with a .941 OPS. He also has the most doubles with 8, and has popped three home runs so far this year.

Also Best Offensive Player: A healthy Mitch Haniger (.292/.330/.562 slash line) has been doing what fans have been waiting for a health Mitch Haniger to do. He leads the team in hits (26) and home runs (5), and has already driven in 17 runs in just 22 games.

Honorable Mention: Kyle Seager (.235/.290/.435 slash line) deserves a shoutout here not because of his stats, which don’t really jump off the page at you, but because of how clutch he’s been. Seager has driven in the most runs so far this season with 19 and has done it with some authority as shown by his 3 home runs and 6 doubles.

Closer: Rafael Montero (RHP, 2-0, 2.61 ERA, 3 SV) has been doing good work for the Mariners since coming over from the Rangers in the offseason. Montero has a .121 BAA and a 0.77 WHIP in 10.1 IP this season. He hasn’t given up a run in his last four appearances, dating back to April 13th.

Hot Hands: Kendall Graveman (RHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 SV) has been nails for the Mariners this season as shown by his lack of any runs surrendered in 8.2 IP. He hasn’t allowed any base runners since his second appearance of the season back on April 7th.

Keynan Middleton (RHP, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2 SV) has also been one of the Mariners’ more reliable relievers this season in spite of his inflated ERA. That number is the result of his second appearance of the season where he gave up 4 earned runs, but other than that he has given up zero runs.

Long Man: LJay Newsome (RHP, 1-0, 1.69 ERA) did some work as a starter last season though he never went deep into games for Seattle and never really had a dominant start. Working exclusively as a reliever this year, Newsome has done well with a 1.69 ERA across 10.2 IP. He has worked at least 2 innings in all his appearances, including 4 innings against Boston yesterday. Expect to see him later in the week because of that.

Starters

Justus Sheffield (LHP, 1-1, 4.86 ERA, 16 K’s) opens for the Mariners after coming off a decent outing against the Dodgers where he gave up 3 runs in 5.2 IP, but snagged the win. Sheffield got slapped around a little in his first start of the season against the White Sox in which he gave up 6 runs, but has recovered nicely since then.

Marco Gonzales (LHP, 1-2, 6.04 ERA, 19 K’s) is on the mound for Game 2 after his best start of the season last time out. Gonzales has already been rocked a couple of times this year but he was able to cruise through 7 against the Dodgers last week, holding them to just 1 run and 2 hits in that game.

Justin Dunn (RHP, 1-0, 3.68 ERA, 14 K’s) starts Game 3 and is part of the Mariners’ youth movement. Dunn looked a little wobbly in his first game of the season but has managed to get his control under wraps and has turned in two good starts in a row. He’s only gone 5 IP in each of those though, but struck out 11 across both of those games.

Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, 0-1, 5.70 ERA, 20 K’s) has struggled in his last two starts, including one against the Astros where he gave up 5 runs in 7 innings of work. The Red Sox also managed to work him over in his most recent game, chasing him at 4.2 innings with 5 runs on his slate.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, April 26th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 2: Tuesday, April 27th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW+

Game 3: Wednesday, April 28th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 4: Thursday, April 29th @ 1:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (13 votes)
  • 45%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (65 votes)
  • 23%
    Seattle Sweep 2-2
    (34 votes)
  • 19%
    Seattle Wins 3-1
    (28 votes)
  • 2%
    Seattle Sweeps 4-0
    (4 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now