Between last weekend’s homestand and this mid-week three-game series, the Mariners are in the midst of an opportunity to push themselves up by shoving their direct competitors down. While they took just 1⁄3 from the Angels this weekend, they avoided what, in retrospect, could’ve been a crushing sweep and enter tonight’s game five games above .500. That puts them one game ahead of the Blue Jays, who, as Jake outlined earlier today, are a tough team to get a read on.
Tonight will be an especially peculiar night as the Blue Jays will be without Roberto Osuna, who was arrested in the past 24 hours and charged with one count of assault on a woman. This will represent yet another test of MLB’s domestic violence policy, and is a miserable situation that lacks the appropriate public details to be discussed at further length here.
In pure baseball terms, Osuna has been placed on administrative leave by the Blue Jays and will likely be unavailable for the rest of the series at minimum, meaning Toronto is without their closer and best relief pitcher. They’ve had good results from Tyler Clippard, John Oxford, Ryan Tepera, and Seung Hwan Oh, but their entire bullpen has been skating on thin ice. Their strand rate (percentage of runners stranded without scoring) is 82.8%, the highest in the league, and 10% above the league-average despite few other peripherals suggesting their superiority. If Seattle can get into the Blue Jays bullpen, they seem primed to be agents of regression.
Standing in their way is the fiery Marcus Stroman who has suffered the opposite experience as his relievers, with a miserable bout of cluster luck resulting in a 50.6% strand rate and an ERA above 7 that belies his subpar but average 4.40 FIP. While Stro is a strong pitcher, Seattle has James Paxton, and even against a lefty-less Toronto lineup Paxton should be the superior arm. Expect another cutter-heavy diet from the Big Maple in his homeland.
Game Time: 4:07 PM PT
Radio: 710 AM Seattle