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2021 Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros

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The Astros (79-57, 1st in AL West) face off against the Mariners (75-62, 2nd in AL West) in what is suddenly a pivotal series for both teams

MLB: AUG 22 Mariners at Astros Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Quick Notes

For the third time in as many weeks the Astros will face off against the Mariners in what is becoming an increasingly tight postseason race. By rights the young team from Seattle doesn’t really belong in the race considering that they’re supposed to be at the beginning of a rebuild period. However, a surprisingly strong bullpen and a surgical offense with a propensity for the clutch hit has propelled them into the thick of the October hunt.

Still, they do have some work to do if they expect to be playing a month from now. They leap-frogged the A’s after sweeping the Diamondbacks over the weekend to run their winning streak to 5 in a row, and are now just 3 games back from the second WC spot. On top of that, they now sit just 4.5 games back from the Astros after Houston’s disastrous road trip to the West Coast, which included a series loss against these same Mariners.

That places Seattle firmly in charge of their own destiny with this series against the Astros, two more against the A’s, and another against the Red Sox. If they’re going to break their epic postseason drought then they’ll need to win most of those games, if not all of them. They also play a number of their final games against the Diamondbacks, Angels, and Royals, so the chances of them ending September with a winning record is at least decent.

Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record, 1 Series Sweep, 1 Series Win, 1 Series Loss, +6 Run Differential (45 Scored, 39 Allowed)

W/L Splits: 40-29 at home, 35-33 on the road, 39-36 against teams over .500


Offense & Pitching

Seeing as how I’ve covered this twice in the past few weeks already I’m just gonna cop out and refer you to my previous series preview from when the Astros faced the Mariners last week. Not much has changed for the team, with the same names still providing most of the oomph for the team.

Of course, I will reiterate that it’s not the size of the offense but how the M’s are using it this season. Though they rank near the bottom of the league in most stats, they’ve been able to generate their runs when they most need it, late in games and in last at-bats. On top of that, their bullpen has been on point and is a major reason why the offense has been in the position to win games late.

The winning formula for opposing teams seems to be getting to the starting pitching early and putting the game out of reach for Seattle before the game is turned over to the pen.


Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, 7-7, 4.12 ERA, 149 K’s) vs. Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 10-4, 3.20 ERA, 154 K’s)

In the first of two pitching rematches from last week, Yusei Kikuchi gets the ball for Seattle in Game 1. Kikuchi has had a Jekyll and Hyde season, including his two most recent starts against the Astros. After surrendering 7 runs in just 2.2 innings in Houston during mid-August, he went on to shut them out for 7 innings in his most recent start. Baseball gonna baseball.

Game 2: Logan Gilbert (RHP, 5-5, 5.14 ERA, 101 K’s) vs Jake Odorizzi (RHP, 6-7, 4.32 ERA, 82 K’s)

The second rematch of the series, this one is a similar story to Game 1. Gilbert was absolutely destroyed by the Astros in his first start against them in August, dropping 9 earned runs in 4.2 innings, which he followed up with 5 innings of shutout ball in his next start against them. His only other shutout of significant length this season came against the Yankees, but other than that Gilbert has really not been very good in 2021.

Game 3: Tyler Anderson (LHP, 6-9, 4.08 ERA, 116 K’s) vs Jose Urquidy (RHP, 6-3, 3.42 ERA, 70 K’s)

Anderson has slotted in nicely for the Mariners since coming over from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. He’s gone at least 5 innings and hasn’t given up more than 3 earned runs in any of those game, giving his team opportunities to win. He weaved through traffic in his last start against the Astros, giving up 8 hits in 5.1 innings, but left that one with just 2 runs on his ledger.


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, September 6th @ 6:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Game 2: Tuesday, September 7th @ 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, September 8th @ 1:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010
Watch: YouTube


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (25 votes)
  • 38%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (45 votes)
  • 31%
    Mariners Win 2-1
    (37 votes)
  • 8%
    Mariners Sweep 3-0
    (10 votes)
117 votes total Vote Now