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Series Preview: Mariners (16-13) vs. Orioles (13-15)

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The Mariners wrap up their brief homestand with a three-game set against the Orioles.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles are in town for a three-game series, with each game set to be played on its own individual day. Sources also tell us there is an extremely high likelihood that not only will there be just one game per day, but the games will begin at their listed start time and will not be halted by non-game events along the way. Wild stuff at work out here on the west coast.

At a Glance

Orioles Mariners
Orioles Mariners
Game 1 Monday, May 3 | 7:10 pm
RHP Dean Kremer TBD
41% 59%
Game 2 Tuesday, May 4 | 7:10 pm
RHP Jorge López RHP Justin Dunn
38% 62%
Game 3 Wednesday, May 5 | 12:40 pm
LHP John Means LHP Yusei Kikuchi
47% 53%
*Game odds courtesy of FiveThirtyEight (Explainer)

Team Overview

Overview Orioles Mariners Edge
Overview Orioles Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 87 (14th in AL) 93 (12th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (DRS) 6 (5th) 6 (6th) Orioles
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 112 (11th) 120 (15th) Orioles
Bullpen (FIP-) 102 (10th) 87 (3rd) Mariners
2021 stats

Note: we’re a month into the season now so I’ve decided to start using 2021 stats throughout the preview. I’m also working on an update to my Stuff+ scores and will have an updated explainer and scores for the Mariners pitching staff ready soon. The Stuff+ scores reflected below are updated with 2021 stats and the new methodology.

The O’s have had a far more successful start to the season than anyone expected, and it’s been largely thanks to John Means solidifying his acehood, Matt Harvey appearing slightly less nauseous in orange, and a bullpen that’s much improved over last year’s trainwreck. Their 87 team wRC+ and collective .286 wOBA (27th and 28th in the league, respectively) have done them no favors. They have the talent as a team to gleefully continue to play spoiler across the league, but that’s about the extent of ‘em long-term.

Orioles Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Cedric Mullins CF L 121 0.378 153 -0.1
Austin Hays LF R 61 0.263 126 -0.2
Trey Mancini 1B R 117 0.273 107 -1.6
Maikel Franco 3B R 114 0.273 94 -0.3
DJ Stewart RF L 73 0.222 77 0.0
Pedro Severino C R 77 0.353 84 -0.2
Ryan Mountcastle DH R 104 0.294 53 1.0
Freddy Galvis SS S 86 0.328 116 -0.1
Rio Ruiz 2B L 73 0.220 59 0.1
2021 stats

My entire LL salary for the month to you if you could name more than three members of this lineup prior to reading this preview. Two months if you can correctly identify Rio Ruiz from a group of other 20-somethings. Semi-recognizable name Anthony Santander has been out with a sprained ankle, and wannabe outfielder of the future Ryan Mountcastle has struggled to replicate his late call-up successes from last season. It’s a real mishmash of guys, and not a particularly pleasant type of offense to watch (with the exception of Cedric Mullins who seems bound and determined to power them out from the cellar of offensive stats).

Probable Pitchers

Update: New Stuff+ Explainer with Stuff+ scores for Mariners starters.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Dean Kremer

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
15 25.0% 8.3% 30.8% 43.8% 8.40 5.36
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 54.7% 92.5 2297 91 88 70
Cutter 20.2% 87.1 2508 98
Curveball 20.8% 75.5 2364 97
2021 stats; Kremer’s cutter and curveball do not have large enough sample sizes for pitch arsenal scores.

From a previous series preview:

Dean Kremer brings his modern, back-spin four-seam heater and 12-6 curve combo to bear against the M’s. The fastball and curve make up roughly 40% and 20% of Kremer’s repertoire, with a cutter to add a third plane of movement. At 92-94, the velocity is average on his heat, and he’s been clobbered in limited action this year, but the 25 year old is the youngest member of the O’s rotation and should get plenty of time to show if he can make it as a big league starter.

When Kremer faced the Mariners back in mid-April, he surrendered four runs in three innings while striking out three. Nine of his 14 runs allowed this season have come in two starts against the Yankees and he hasn’t lasted past the fifth inning in any of his starts this year.


RHP Jorge López

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
21 2/3 21.6% 9.3% 30.0% 46.2% 7.48 6.28
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 25.1% 94.7 1960 116 146 105
Sinker 40.2% 94.5 1917 116 152 120
Changeup 12.7% 87.8 1597 60
Curveball 22.0% 82.0 2362 119
2021 stats; López’s changeup and curveball do not have large enough sample sizes for pitch arsenal scores.

Jorge López was once a well regarded prospect in the Brewers organization. He was part of the Mike Moustakas trade back in 2018 and had an okay year with the Royals in 2019. But he was designated for assignment last year and latched on with the Orioles who desperately needed some rotation depth. In 250 innings at the major league level, he’s posted an ugly 6.16 ERA with an equally ghastly 5.23 FIP. His biggest issue is that his two fastballs are extremely crushable pitches despite possessing some positive characteristics. It’s boom or bust with his heaters and his secondary offerings just aren’t good enough to offset the deficiencies of his fastballs.


LHP John Means

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
37 27.3% 7.2% 12.2% 38.5% 1.70 3.61
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 50.5% 92.5 2408 118 110 82
Changeup 29.0% 82.8 2286 128 115 166
Curveball 13.0% 77.2 2354 84
Slider 7.4% 85.5 2358 113
2021 stats; Means’s curveball and slider do not have large enough sample sizes for pitch arsenal scores.

From a previous series preview:

John Means is the rock of this group, particularly after veteran Alex Cobb was shipped off to Anaheim this winter. The 28 year old was a pleasant surprise in 2019 and the club’s lone All-Star that year, but had less fortune in avoiding the home run bug last year. This year the changeup artist has dodged the big fly entirely, and Stuff+ seems to think his heater plays up even from its 93-95 average. Means also mixes in a curve and slider, with some intrigue on the latter.

The Mariners managed to score three runs off Means in their previous matchup, the highest number of runs allowed by Means this year.


The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Athletics 17-12 0.586 -- L-W-L-L-W
Mariners 16-13 0.552 1.0 L-W-W-L-W
Astros 15-13 0.536 1.5 W-L-W-W-L
Angels 13-13 0.500 2.5 L-W-L-W-L
Rangers 13-16 0.448 4.0 L-W-L-W-W

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
White Sox 15-12 0.556 -- W-W-L-W-L
Mariners 16-13 0.552 -- L-W-W-L-W
Blue Jays 14-12 0.538 0.5 W-L-W-W-W
Astros 15-13 0.536 0.5 W-L-W-W-L
Yankees 14-14 0.500 1.5 W-L-W-W-W

The Orioles very nearly swept the Athletics in Oakland over the weekend, with some late-game heroics from Ramón Laureano on Sunday their saving grace. The A’s host the healthy and surging Blue Jays for four games this week. Houston won their series against the Rays over the weekend and have pushed their way back up the standings after their early season woes. Their schedule continues to be a challenge with series against the Yankees and Blue Jays on deck. The Angels return home to Southern California to host the Rays for four games this week, with a tantalizing Tyler Glasnow/Shohei Ohtani pitching matchup on the docket tonight.