After the 10-0 blowout on Tuesday, it looked like the series against the Orioles was shaping up to be a cakewalk. It turned out to be something much less than that, as the Mariners barely squeaked out a series win on Thursday. There were some positive signs from their trip to Baltimore; Jesse Winker, Taylor Trammell, and George Kirby all had great performances there. Now, they’ll head to Texas for a pair of series against the Rangers and Astros.
At a Glance
|Game 1||Friday, June 3 | 5:05 pm|
|RHP Logan Gilbert||RHP Dane Dunning|
|Game 2||Saturday, June 4 | 1:05 pm|
|LHP Marco Gonzales||RHP Glenn Otto|
|Game 3||Sunday, June 5 | 11:35 am|
|RHP George Kirby||LHP Martín Pérez|
|Batting (wRC+)||97 (10th in AL)||113 (3rd in AL)||Mariners|
|Fielding (OAA)||-9 (14th)||3 (6th)||Mariners|
|Starting Pitching (FIP-)||102 (8th)||116 (14th)||Rangers|
|Bullpen (FIP-)||105 (12th)||109 (14th)||Rangers|
The Rangers started off the season slowly, limping to a 7-14 record in April. They really turned things around in May, however, racing out to a 17-10 record last month and climbing all the way back to around .500 for the season. The biggest reason for their change in fortunes was a pitching staff that improved to allow just 3.7 runs per game in May. Their offense has improved a bit as well, though mega signings Corey Seager and Marcus Semien still look like they’re acclimating to their new team.
|Josh H. Smith||3B||L||191||0.336||110|
It took nearly two months, but Semien finally collected his first home run of the season last weekend and added another yesterday. He’s posted a 120 wRC+ over his last 10 games and could be finally breaking out of his early season funk. The two players who drove a lot of the Rangers offensive success in May aren’t who you’d expect: Kole Calhoun and Jonah Heim. The former posted a 7 wRC+ in April — no typo, there’s just a single digit there — but exploded for a .306/.378/.592 slash line once the calendar turned over to May. An elbow injury to Mitch Garver which has forced him out from behind the plate into full-time DH duty has given Heim a long run as the starting catcher. He’s responded with a breakout season at the plate — maybe not a surprise for Mariners fans after he terrorized Seattle pitching last year.
- Stuff+ scores for Mariners starters (Update: The Stuff+ scores for Mariners starters have been updated with 2022 data, and now include data for George Kirby and Matt Brash.)
RHP Dane Dunning
From a previous series preview:
Dane Dunning has had a turbulent start to his career. He was involved in two major trades before even making his major league debut and lost a season and a half to a torn UCL. Acquired in the Lance Lynn deal prior to the 2021 season, the Rangers handled Dunning extremely carefully in his first full major league season. He averaged under five innings per start and threw more than 80 pitches in a game just four times. His approach is pretty simple: pound the zone with an average sinker and hope to get batters to chase his secondary offerings out of the zone. His slider and changeup have shown some promise but if he’s locating them off the plate so often, it becomes easier and easier for batters to just watch them go by. Four of his five pitches generate elite vertical movement, which explains how he’s able to run such a high groundball rate.
The Mariners made Dunning labor through four innings in his previous start against them in Seattle, forcing him to throw nearly 80 pitches in that short outing. He allowed three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three.
RHP Glenn Otto
Glenn Otto was one of the headlining prospects the Rangers received in the big Joey Gallo trade last season. He racked up gaudy strikeout rates as a member of the Yankees organization and carried over those skills when he joined Texas’s farm system. He made his major league debut a month after the trade but some poor luck and bad sequencing caused his ERA to balloon to 9.26 despite a FIP that sat at a fantastic 3.17 in six starts. Despite his peripherals indicating a strong foundation, he’s struggled to follow up his debut with the same kind of success this year. The biggest issue is a walk rate that’s jumped up to 11.8% and a strikeout rate that plummeted to 19.1%.
LHP Martín Pérez
Somehow, someway, Martín Pérez is leading all qualified starters in ERA this year. Across 10 starts, he’s allowed just 10 earned runs and hasn’t yet allowed a home run on the season. An effective innings eater for most of his career, Pérez has suddenly turned into a premier starter without any significant changes to his repertoire. The secret behind his success? Impeccable command. Nearly half of his pitches thrown this year have been located in the shadow zone — on the edge of the rulebook strike zone — a huge improvement in his ability to command his pitches. That’s led to career-bests in ERA, FIP, xFIP, and strikeout and walk rates.
The Big Picture:
The AL West
|Team||W-L||W%||Games Behind||Recent Form|
|Team||W-L||W%||Games Behind||Recent Form|
The Angels have continued their free fall after scoring just three runs in three games against the Yankees. They’ve lost eight in a row and now travel to Philadelphia this weekend to face a Phillies club in a similar amount of turmoil. The Astros easily swept away the A’s earlier this week and will travel to Kansas City to face the hapless Royals this weekend.
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