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Series Preview: Red Sox (81-64) at Mariners (77-66)

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After dropping a series to the worst team in the NL, the Mariners play host to one of the best teams in the AL

Red Sox vs Seattle Mariners Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

After dropping a series to the worst team in the AL (and the worst team in baseball, coming into the series), the Mariners face off against a decidedly more stout opponent in the Boston Red Sox, who lead the Mariners in the Wild Card race by three games. The Mariners could help themselves out in this series, or they could shovel ever more dirt on their razor-thin playoff hopes after dropping a series to the worst team in baseball at playing on the road this season, seriously, guys, what the hell.

At a Glance

Red Sox Mariners
Red Sox Mariners
Game 1 Monday, September 13 | 7:10 pm
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez RHP Logan Gilbert
50% 50%
Game 2 Tuesday, September 14 | 7:10 pm
RHP Nathan Eovaldi LHP Tyler Anderson
52% 48%
Game 3 Wednesday, September 15 | 1:10 pm
RHP Tanner Houck LHP Marco Gonzales
51% 49%

Weirdly, the odds-makers like the Mariners least in the game where I (Kate) like the Mariners best, but maybe that’s just because Tyler Anderson hasn’t authored any particularly crushing defeats for me lately, personally. The Mariners would have missed Chris Sale anyway, but definitely will now as he, like so many other Red Sox, is on the COVID-IL.

Team Overview

Overview Red Sox Mariners Edge
Overview Red Sox Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 106 (5th in AL) 92 (12th in AL) Red Sox
Fielding (OAA) -35 (15th) -2 (9th) Mariners
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 95 (4th) 111 (12th) Red Sox
Bullpen (FIP-) 95 (5th) 86 (1st) Mariners

Projected Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Enrique Hernández 2B R 506 0.284 112 2.8
Kyle Schwarber LF L 417 0.299 140 -2.5
Xander Bogaerts SS R 529 0.333 131 1.9
Rafael Devers 3B L 588 0.303 132 0.1
J.D. Martinez DH R 567 0.339 128 -3.1
Alex Verdugo CF L 551 0.323 110 2.2
Hunter Renfroe RF R 503 0.285 117 -2.7
Bobby Dalbec 1B R 408 0.326 105 -0.4
Christian Vázquez C R 453 0.308 80 -3.8

Kyle Schwarber has been the best deadline deal acquisition in baseball, adding 20 points to his already-high wRC+ (157!) since trading Cubbie Blue for BoSox Red. Boston also added Enrique Hernández on an off-season deal and he is thriving, which we love for Kiké, although less for the Red Sox. Other than that, it’s pretty much the regulars who have been part of Boston’s championship run contributing at their previous peak levels: J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers have all been the best versions of themselves lately, even if some of them got off to slower starts earlier in the season, and rookies/young’uns Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec have also contributed, the latter despite a 35% K rate in his first full-time big-league action.

Probable pitchers:

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

Stuff+ scores for Mariners starters (Update: The Stuff+ scores for Mariners starters have been updated with August data)

LHP Eduardo Rodríguez

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
136 1/3 27.2% 6.7% 14.2% 42.4% 5.15 3.55
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 39.1% 92.6 2171 62 144 65
Sinker 11.2% 92.6 2124 108 85 103
Cutter 17.7% 88.4 2171 119 64 106
Changeup 23.6% 85.5 1885 98 86 113
Slider 8.3% 82.1 2130 69 71 98

RHP Nathan Eovaldi

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
163 2/3 25.2% 4.4% 8.7% 41.2% 3.57 2.87
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 42.6% 96.9 2116 155 84 110
Cutter 13.0% 92.6 2277 126 69 98
Splitter 12.4% 88.0 1546 103 95 86
Curveball 18.5% 78.6 2100 104 116 108
Slider 13.5% 86.0 2160 116 100 99

RHP Tanner Houck

IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
IP K% BB% HR/FB% GB% ERA FIP
53 1/3 28.0% 6.7% 8.7% 46.4% 3.54 2.96
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 40.3% 94.4 2089 70 97 123
Sinker 18.0% 93.1 2079 116 210 96
Splitter 7.5% 85.6 1569 125
Slider 34.3% 84.1 2530 103 96 105

Full disclosure, this is where Jake usually writes up each of these pitchers with incisive, insightful comments about all of their performances to date, but Jake has been on vacation this weekend and I (Kate) haven’t watched any of these guys pitch all season because I’ve been busy writing about like, Jake Bauers and shit. So this week we’re just going to look at their FIPs together and say, hmm, this looks like tough sledding for the Mariners, Sale or no Sale. Honestly, I’d be more invested in looking this stuff up if I hadn’t just had to recap a start where the Mariners hitters failed to get anything going against Literally Humberto Castellanos, so yeah. Tough sledding, indeed.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 83-59 0.585 -- W-L-W-L-W
Athletics 77-66 0.538 6.5 W-W-W-L-L
Mariners 77-66 0.538 6.5 L-W-W-L-L
Angels 70-73 0.490 13.5 W-L-L-W-L
Rangers 53-89 0.373 30.0 W-W-L-W-W

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Blue Jays 80-63 0.559 -- W-L-W-W-W
Red Sox 81-64 0.559 -- L-W-L-W-L
Yankees 79-64 0.552 1.0 L-L-L-W-L
Athletics 77-66 0.538 3.0 W-W-W-L-L
Mariners 77-66 0.538 3.0 L-W-W-L-L

The Mariners failed to gain any ground in the Wild Card race thanks to a series loss to the NL’s worst team, and one of the worst road teams in baseball, historically, but weren’t totally buried in the WC standings, as all the other Wild Card teams either lost or split series over the weekend, except for the Blue Jays, who trounced the hapless Orioles and edged ahead of the Mariners, in addition to sucking up all the breathless national coverage. Mariners! Learn to hit home runs! We are begging you.