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2022 Series Preview 8: Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros

The Astros (11-11, 3rd in AL West) return home to take on the division rival Mariners (12-10, 2nd in AL West)

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Notes

The Mariners arrive in Houston on the tail end of a road trip that has been less than ideal for the young team. They logged a record of 2-4 during a tour of Florida, dropping two straight series against the Rays and Marlins. However, this did come after a wildly successful homestand that included an almost-sweep of the Astros and a 7-2 record, so I’m sure they’re not crying about it too hard.

This series will be about as important as an early May showdown can be between two rivals. The Mariners are expected to compete heavily in the division this season and a series win by the Astros would let Houston move into 2nd place in the division with them, and a sweep would see them the sole owners. Of course, the caveat is that it’s still early in the season, but demoralizing a divisional opponent is always worthwhile no matter what time of year.

Last 10 Games: 5-5 Record, 1 Series Sweep, 2 Series Lost, +10 Run Differential (53 scored, 43 allowed)

W/L Splits: 7-2 at home, 5-8 on the road, 6-7 against teams over .500


Offense

The Astros will need to do it against an offense that appears to have a couple of young stars emerging. Ty France has been red hot to start the season, slashing .333/.410/.540 in the early goings and leading the team with 5 home runs. His 8 BB to 11 K ratio also demonstrates that he’s seeing the ball well, making him that much more dangerous at the plate. He’s cooled off somewhat recently, though, going just 3-for-24 during the road trip, but he always plays hard against the Astros so I wouldn’t take that too seriously.

He’s joined by young stud J.P. Crawford as the 1-2 punch at the top of Seattle’s lineup. Crawford has the highest OPS on the team, sitting at a lofty 1.090 with a slash line of .372/.462/.628. Unlike France, he remained red hot during the recent road trip. He’s gone 10-for-24 with 2 homers and 2 doubles, so his power stroke is definitely in full effect.

The rest of the offense has been steady though not spectacular across the course of the first month. There’s still a lot of hope for Julio Rodriguez, who is beginning to show signs of coming around after stumbling a little out of the gate in 2022. He’s slashing .333/.391/.524 on this road trip and has 3 stolen bases.


Pitching

The back end of the Mariners’ bullpen continues to be a mix-and-match situation as 4 relievers have already logged save opportunities with the teams’ 3 converted saves being split amongst different pitchers. That list includes Andres Muñoz (RHP, 8.0 IP, 3.38 ERA, 15 K’s), Diego Castillo (RHP, 9.2 IP, 1.86 ERA, 9 K’s), and Drew Steckenrider (RHP, 8.2 IP, 3.12 ERA, 6 K’s), though that’s hardly the only pitchers we could see in the 9th.

Honestly, the M’s have a number of good options for high leverage this season. Erik Swanson (RHP, 9.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 13 K’s) has yet to give up a run in 9 appearances this season and has only walked 1 batter to compare to his 13 strikeouts. Paul Sewald (RHP, 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 K’s), who is recently returned from the COVID-IL has also been factoring into high leverage roles this season, so expect to see him in tight games at some point.


Starter Matchups

Game 1: Marco Gonzales (LHP, 1-2, 3.86 ERA, 14 K’s) vs Jake Odorizzi (1-2, 6.00 ERA, 9 K’s)

Marco Gonzales gets the ball for Seattle after a couple of rough back-to-back outings. His outing against the Rangers two starts ago featured the second time this season that he surrendered 6 runs, though only 2 were earned. He then left his last start during the first inning after taking a liner off the wrist and ended up logging another earned run in that game. Unfortunately for Houston, his one good start this season was a 7-inning, 1-run performance against them.

Game 2: Chris Flexen (RHP, 1-3, 3.38 ERA, 15 K’s) vs Cristian Javier (RHP, 0-1, 1.35 ERA, 16 K’s)

Flexen has been a solid presence in the Mariners’ rotation so far this season, going at least 6 innings in his last three starts, including getting into the 7th in his last two. He pitched well enough to win his last game but was sunk on a ball that dribbled into the infield against the shift. He pitched well his last time out against the Astros as well, only giving up three runs across 6 IP, but he ran up against vintage Verlander in that one, so there wasn’t much hope there for him.

Game 3: Matt Brash (RHP, 1-2, 6.88 ERA, 16 K’s) vs Justin Verlander (RHP, 2-1, 1,73 ERA, 28 K’s)

Brash had been looking like the next ace for the M’s in his first couple of starts, but has fallen off a bit during his last two. He was slapped around pretty hard by the Marlins, who put 6 runs on his ledger and chased him after just 2 innings of work. Here’s hoping he brings some of that energy into his game against Houston after no-hitting them through 5 innings the last time they saw him.


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, May 2nd @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - KIRO 710 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 2: Tuesday, May 3rd @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - KIRO 710 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 3: Wednesday, May 4th @ 1:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - KIRO 710 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (16 votes)
  • 39%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (28 votes)
  • 19%
    Mariners Win 2-1
    (14 votes)
  • 18%
    Mariners Sweep 3-0
    (13 votes)
71 votes total Vote Now