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Seattle Mariners Series Preview: They’re having a fire...sale!

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Everything must go! Low low prices! But they’ve still got big beefy boy Daniel Vogelbach.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
Jun 11, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach (20) hits a RBI single against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners roared out of the gates in 2019 and by the third week of the season, they were the biggest story and the talk of the league. After sweeping the Royals in Kansas City, they were 13-2 and scoring runs by the dozens and hitting almost as many home runs. Then they lost five in a row and are 18-42 since then. That’s a pace for 48 or 49 wins over the course of a full season. And it’s not going to get better. They’ve already traded Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion. They’re still hitting a lot of home runs (though those two accounted for 35 of their 132 team home runs), but their scoring has settled down and their pitching has been an unmitigated disaster with a 5.70 ERA since their hot start with tons of home runs allowed. Injuries and ineffectiveness have brought out the worst timeline for their rotation, and bullpen and it’s really ugly right now in Seattle. This could be a really evenly matched series that nobody wants to watch.

Meet the Mariners

Royals vs. Mariners Tale of the Tape

Category Royals Mariners
Category Royals Mariners
Winning % .324 .413
Team wRC+ 86 110
Team xFIP 4.80 4.93
2019 Head to Head Wins 0 4
Highest fWAR Hunter Dozier, 2.3 Daniel Vogelbach, 1.9

Mariners Projected Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Mallex Smith CF 231 .224 .290 .352 7.8% 26.8% 77 -0.1
JP Crawford SS 81 .274 .346 .425 9.9% 27.2% 113 0.6
Domingo Santana RF 316 .274 .337 .467 8.2% 28.2% 119 0.4
Daniel Vogelbach' DH 261 .255 .391 .538 18.0% 22.2% 152 1.9
Omar Narvaez C 220 .284 .364 .464 10.5% 20.0% 128 1.4
Kyle Seager 3B 100 .218 .310 .327 11.0% 22.0% 96 0.4
Tim Beckham DH 223 .232 .287 .464 5.8% 30.9% 102 0.2
Dee Gordon 2B 195 .283 .311 .389 4.1% 13.3% 90 0.8
Mac Williamson LF 94 .141. .223 .224 8.5% 29.8% 25 -0.6

Mariners Projected Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Tom Murphy C 90 .291 .311 .581 3.3% 38.9% 136 1.0
Austin Nola (AAA) C/INF 229 .327 .415 .520 12.7% 17.5% 134 ---
Dylan Moore INF/OF 114 .204 .310 .327 8.8% 32.5% 81 -0.1

Mariners Key Relievers

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Roenis Elias 28 32.0 2 0 22.4% 11.2% 3.94 4.66 0.3
Anthony Bass 9 11.2 1 1 18.2% 9.1% 3.09 4.32 0.2
Cory Gearrin 31 26.1 0 2 23.7% 11.9% 4.78 4.74 0.2
Austin L. Adams 14 15.1 0 0 36.5% 12.7% 3.52 3.12 0.3

Projected Starting Pitchers

Monday June 17th - 9:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Danny Duffy 9 49.1 3 3 20.0% 8.6% 4.38 4.92 0.8
Tommy Milone 5 26.1 1 1 25.0% 4.8% 3.42 4.16 0.3

It’s probably fair for Royals fans to feel a chill go down their back when they see that Tommy Milone is the opposing pitcher. In the first couple years of his career, he went 3-1 in four starts against the Royals with a 1.84 ERA in 20.1 innings. He hasn’t faced the Royals since 2016, but he hasn’t been quite as good since then, which makes sense because he hasn’t really been especially good since then. And yet, he’s hanging around and has been serviceable for the Mariners with his usual great control and a surprising number of strikeouts. With middling stuff, but an extremely effective changeup, the key is to get ahead in the count against him, which is easier said than done. When he’s ahead in the count, he’s allowed a .061 average and .152 slugging percentage. When he’s behind, though? .333/.433/.708. That’s not good. The Royals have struggled a bit with lefties this season, but thev’ve gotten to the last two they’ve faced, so maybe they’re turning a corner there.

Danny Duffy left his start before last after getting hit in the leg and giving up some hard hits and came back to pitch really well against the Tigers. That’s not much of a test, but you can only face who is in front of you and he walked just two and struck out seven with 12 swinging strikes in seven innings last week. His changeup and curve were both fantastic in that start, and if he has those going, the Mariners and their swing and miss tendencies from a lot of their lineup might have some trouble. He’s generally been very good against the Mariners in his career with a 2.54 ERA in 39 career innings. He’s been especially good in Seattle with a .250/.319/.266 line against in five career appearances spanning 18 innings.

Tuesday June 18th - 9:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Homer Bailey 14 67.0 5 6 20.8% 9.9% 5.37 4.51 1.0
Yusei Kikuchi 15 75.1 3 4 16.7% 6.7% 4.78 4.86 0.4

I thought the Yusei Kikuchi deal would have gone a little better for the Mariners in the early-going, but he’s been pretty up and down in his 15 starts. He’s certainly had his moments like a 10-strikeout game against Cleveland in early May that he followed up with 7.2 great innings against the Yankees, but he’s also struggled a lot and has a 10.20 ERA in his last four starts that have only spanned 15 innings with more walks than strikeouts and seven home runs. His fastball has been 92-94 and it hasn’t really fooled anyone. He’s got just a 15.7 percent whiff rate on it and a .321 average allowed with a .606 slugging percentage. The slider has been the money pitch for him, but he hasn’t been able to get to it quite as often as he’d like. Maybe it’s a focus thing, but all 15 home runs he’s allowed have been solo shots as he’s allowed a .570 slugging percentage with the bases empty and a .368 slugging percentage with runners on. I’m sure that’s frustrating to watch every fifth day because you see him excel, but not be able to do it with nobody on. The thing is that he’s still giving up hits, so teams are scoring against him, just not with the instant offense that a home run is. He gave up three in six innings against the Royals earlier this year and allowed a couple of absolute monster home runs to Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler. A repeat would be fun, but someone will need to take Dozier’s role since he’s still out.

Every time I’ve been ready to write off Homer Bailey, he comes back with some decent starts. After his ERA climbed above 6.00, he’s had two start quality starts, allowing just three runs on nine hits in 12 innings. Of course, the last one was against the Tigers, but again, he can’t choose who he faces. He’s had double digits swinging strikes in each of his last three starts and even with a rough start mixed in, has a 3.60 ERA and .635 OPS allowed in his last four starts with 17 strikeouts and seven walks. He faced the Mariners when they were in Kansas City earlier in the year and bludgeoning everyone and he gave up seven runs in five plus innings, but I believe he was left in too long in the hopes that Ned Yost didn’t have to go to the tire fire that was the bullpen at that point. It didn’t work.

Wednesday June 19th - 5:40pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Brad Keller 14 93.0 3 8 15.8% 11.5% 3.97 5.01 1.4
Marco Gonzales 16 90.0 7 6 15.9% 6.9% 4.50 5.38 1.4

Marco Gonzales is the classic lefty who, when right, will cause people to shake their heads in disbelief that he was able to do as well as he did. He hasn’t been as good this year with fewer strikeouts, more walks and a few more hits, leading to a lot of traffic on the bases. His sinker velocity is down a bit from last year, but it’s actually been more effective. He’s been hit really hard on his curve with a .364 average allowed and 92 MPH average exit velocity. The nice thing about Gonzales from the Mariners perspective is he is who he is, which means getting to a third time through the lineup doesn’t really change much since he throws the kitchen sink from the start of a game. He’s actually been pretty consistent, but never especially good at any point throughout games. He gave up three runs in six innings against the Royals earlier this year with three doubles and a triple, so he pitched pretty decently.

The good pitching has started to become a trend again for Brad Keller. He was fantastic against the Twins on Friday night, shutting out the league’s best offense for seven innings on just three hits. He didn’t get the win, but he looked sharp. Now in his last five starts, he’s gone 35 innings, allowed 29 hits and walked just nine batters. He’s been typically stingy with the home run ball and sports a 2.83 ERA in that time. This is more what the Royals thought they were getting from Keller this season and a welcome sight to see. His strike percentage of 65 percent is so much better than the pathetic 57 percent from April 2 to May 17. This Mariners lineup will be another test for him because while they’re depleted and getting thinner, they still have some fire power and have a chance to do damage to a guy who pitches to contact.

Prediction

The Royals are 21-38 since starting 2-10 while the Mariners are 18-42 (as mentioned) since starting 13-2. These two teams are pretty evenly matched in spite of the Mariners being six games better than the Royals in the standings. I think Seattle is in freefall and the Royals are due for a random good week or two at some point, so I’ll go on a crazy ledge and say the Royals take the series with two wins. What do you think happens this series?

Poll

Who takes this series?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Royals Sweep
    (30 votes)
  • 8%
    Mariners Sweep
    (17 votes)
  • 40%
    Royals Win Two of Three
    (79 votes)
  • 34%
    Mariners Win Two of Three
    (67 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now