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Series Preview: Mariners (79-64) vs. Padres (57-88)

The Mariners wrap up this homestand with a two-game set against the Padres.

Seattle Mariners v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Mariners 2018 season has suffered a long, protracted death. Their series loss against the Yankees probably wasn’t the final nail in the coffin—that came much earlier—but it probably put away any lingering hopes. Not only did the Mariners lose a couple of games in the standings but the Rays have now matched their record after a sweep of the Orioles over the weekend and a win against Cleveland yesterday. It doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things, and proper credit should be given to an innovative team in Tampa, but it’s just one more disappointment in a half-season full of them.

At a Glance

Padres Mariners
Padres Mariners
Game 1 Tuesday, September 11 | 7:10 pm
RHP Bryan Mitchell LHP Marco Gonzales
39% 61%
Game 2 Wednesday, September 12 | 3:40 pm
LHP Joey Lucchesi LHP Wade LeBlanc
41% 59%
*Game odds courtesy of FiveThirtyEight (Explainer)

Team Overview

Overview Mariners Padres Edge
Overview Mariners Padres Edge
Batting (wRC+) 100 (9th in AL) 89 (15th in NL) Mariners
Fielding (UZR) -12.7 (12th) -24.7 (13th) Mariners
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 99 (6th) 116 (14th) Mariners
Bullpen (FIP-) 94 (6th) 84 (1st) Padres

The true final nail in the Mariners coffin might have been the two-game series in San Diego at the end of August. It was probably earlier than that but there was a little momentum after a series win in Arizona and some hope left on the horizon with the four-game set in Oakland coming up afterward. Of course, the Mariners lost both games and stumbled into their series against the A’s and the rest is history.

Nothing’s really changed with the Padres since the Mariners faced them a few weeks ago. Francisco Mejía, their prize from trading away Brad Hand, made his debut with his new team a few days ago and launched a pair of home runs in his first start with his new team. They’re half a game ahead of the Marlins for the worst record in the National League and they’re in line to pick up the fourth pick in next year’s amateur draft.

Padres Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Freddy Galvis SS S 582 0.293 76 -0.2
Luis Urías 2B R 49 0.206 70 0.2
Hunter Renfroe LF R 368 0.290 118 -1.3
Eric Hosmer 1B L 606 0.305 95 -3.4
Wil Myers 3B R 272 0.323 105 3.0
Franmil Reyes RF R 211 0.322 128 -0.5
Austin Hedges C R 282 0.297 96 -1.4
Manuel Margot CF R 464 0.289 81 -1.3

After a rough introduction to the major leagues, Hunter Renfroe has taken a big step forward this year. He’s always possessed incredible raw power but pairs that strength with an extremely aggressive approach at the plate. Last year, his strikeout rate fell just short of 30% and he rarely walked. He still is averse to taking a free pass but he’s improved his contact rate slightly giving him more opportunities to flash his power. Like Rougned Odor or Jonathan Schoop, his low walk, high power approach will make him extremely streaky but it’s definitely working for him this year. Franmil Reyes has also been blessed with prodigious power, launching 15 home runs in just 211 plate appearances this year. Like Renfroe, his plate discipline is less than ideal. With his huge physique, he’s probably better suited for an American League team as a designated hitter.

Probable Pitchers

Seattle Mariners v San Diego Padres

RHP Bryan Mitchell

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
53 1/3 9.8% 14.8% 17.6% 47.3% 6.58 6.66

Pitch Arsenal

Pitch Type Frequency Velocity (mph) Spin Rate (z-score) Whiff+ BIP+
Pitch Type Frequency Velocity (mph) Spin Rate (z-score) Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 57.4% 94.8 2246 (-0.35) 59 96
Cutter 15.4% 91.3 2408 (1.07) 89 118
Changeup 6.3% 88.9 2030 (1.25)
Curveball 20.9% 80.8 2693 (0.66) 68 81
Mitchell’s changeup does not have a large enough sample size for pitch arsenal scores.

Among all pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings in a single season in the last ten years, Bryan Mitchell’s strikeout-to-walk ratio this year is the second worst. That’s a sample of 3283 pitcher seasons. He has the distinction of possessing the worst strikeout rate and the third worst walk rate in the majors. And this is a guy the Padres went out and purchased this offseason—via taking on the contract of Chase Headley from the Yankees. His minor league track record is pretty good but he just can’t seem to translate his talent to the majors. The problem is his high-spin curveball. He’s locating that pitch in the zone just 35% of the time. Leaving your breaking ball out of the zone is okay if you’re generating lots of whiffs with it but Mitchell isn’t, and it makes laying off the pitch far too easy.


LHP Joey Lucchesi

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
110 1/3 26.0% 8.2% 17.0% 44.7% 3.59 4.01

Pitch Arsenal

Pitch Type Frequency Velocity (mph) Spin Rate (z-score) Whiff+ BIP+
Pitch Type Frequency Velocity (mph) Spin Rate (z-score) Whiff+ BIP+
Sinker 64.4% 91.1 2232 (0.71) 133 101
Curveball 35.6% 79.6 2060 (-1.69) 134 74

FanGraphs ranked Joey Lucchesi seventh in the Padres organization this past offseason but you wouldn’t know it just looking at his raw stuff. He throws a rather generic looking low-90s fastball and a loopy curveball, but his pitch arsenal scores are off the charts. Indeed, he has a ton of funk in his delivery. Every movement is exaggerated before dropping low and then coming over the top with an extreme overhand delivery. All that commotion creates enough deception for him to generate whiff rates that far outpace what would be normally expected. And even though his mechanics look herky-jerky, he’s athletic enough to repeat them consistently giving him excellent command of his pitches. He spent a little time on the disabled list earlier this season with a hip injury but has shown enough promise this year to secure his place in the Padres future.

Lucchesi stymied the Mariners a few weeks ago, holding them to just one run while pitching into the seventh inning. He struck out nine and scattered eight baserunners. He followed that start with an impressive three-hit outing against the Diamondbacks.


The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 90-54 0.625 -- W-W-W-L-W
Athletics 87-57 0.604 3.0 L-W-W-W-W
Mariners 79-64 0.552 10.5 L-W-L-L-W
Angels 71-73 0.493 19.0 W-W-W-W-L
Rangers 62-82 0.431 28.0 L-L-L-L-W

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Yankees 90-54 0.625 +3.0 L-W-W-L-W
Athletics 87-57 0.604 -- L-W-W-W-W
Mariners 79-64 0.552 7.5 L-W-L-L-W
Rays 79-64 0.552 7.5 L-W-W-W-W
Angels 71-73 0.493 16.0 W-W-W-W-L

Like I mentioned above, the Rays tied the Mariners in the American League standings with their fourth straight win yesterday. They possess the fourth best record in baseball during the second half of the season and have won 17 of their last 20 games. They’ll wrap up their series against Cleveland this week before hosting the A’s over the weekend. The Athletics just keep on winning, sweeping the Rangers at home last weekend. They travel to Baltimore to take on the worst team in baseball and will probably stretch their win streak to seven games. The Astros won their weekend series against the Red Sox and started a four-game series against the Tigers with a win yesterday.