After securing a series win over the COVID-depleted Astros, the Mariners now face a much stiffer challenge in the ur-Dodgers, baseball’s best team. Late-inning heroics and modest offensive totals just won’t cut it against this juggernaut of a team, as Jake details in his series preview. The Dodgers entered 2021 intent not just on winning, but on thrashing any and every competitor that dared to confront them en route to a repeat of 2020’s championship season, and they spent money in a way that reflected that goal, especially in bolstering their pitching staff. The Mariners, meanwhile, scrounged in the couch cushions and came up with a few reclamation projects, two pitchers who now need TJ, and a Rule 5 pick. They also did nothing to address the team’s offensive production and lost their best player by OBP and last year’s Rookie of the Year to injuries to begin the season. So, different approaches to the season, one could say.
Speaking of those injuries, you’ll note there’s no Kyle Lewis in the lineup, despite the team saying he’d possibly return for this homestand, and then possibly return for this part of the homestand. Per Ryan Divish, Lewis played five innings in an alt site game today and will be ready to return tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Also in injury updates: we heard nothing about Jake Fraley. That makes sense, because back on the 14th he was about “a week” away from doing baseball activities, but I don’t know if we’re counting on a business week schedule or what. Anyway, it’s something to monitor because once those guys come back there’s going to have to be some shuffling to get them back on the roster somewhere. Per JJ Cooper at Baseball America, MiLB is still on track for Opening Day 2021 two weeks from tomorrow, so having real affiliates to send players to rather than the alt site or spring training mini-leagues might also impact the decision-making here.
Tonight’s game kicks off at 7:10 on ROOT Sports NW (TV) and 710 ESPN (radio). If you’re out of market you can find the game on MLB TV. As a reminder for out of market folks, if you’re looking to add a non-cable, non-MLB TV option to watch baseball, remember we have affiliate links for FUBO TV or ESPN+ (free trials for both!), and if you use those links when signing up we get a small commission. Also! If you’re looking to score some Mariners gear, use this link for Fanatics; if you order in the next two hours code SLAM gets you 30% off most items, including the Kyle Lewis jersey I am eyeing up.