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Series Preview: Mariners (39-42) at Padres (47-34)

The 2022 edition of the Vedder Cup begins this week.

Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 7-2 during a MLB baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The Mariners have crossed the halfway mark in their season and find themselves three games under .500 with 81 games left to play. This season hasn’t really gone to plan, but they’ve managed to fight their way closer to the fringes of the AL Wild Card race. They’re still feeling the effects of the fight with the Angels a week ago — J.P. Crawford served his suspension over the weekend and Jesse Winker will likely be sidelined for all six games this week. The good news is that Ty France, Mitch Haniger, and Kyle Lewis are making progress towards getting fully healthy with Lewis getting sent out on a rehab assignment yesterday. The Mariners will need all hands on deck if they’re going to make any noise in the Wild Card race this summer.

At a Glance

Mariners Padres
Mariners Padres
Game 1 Monday, July 4 | 3:40 pm
RHP Chris Flexen LHP Sean Manaea
40% 60%
Game 2 Tuesday, July 5 | 1:10 pm
RHP Logan Gilbert RHP Mike Clevinger
42% 58%
*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team Overview

Overview Padres Mariners Edge
Overview Padres Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 98 (10th in NL) 106 (5th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (OAA) 24 (1st) 2 (10th) Padres
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 93 (5th) 111 (12th) Padres
Bullpen (FIP-) 93 (5th) 101 (8th) Padres

The Vedder Cup lives on! This year, the Mariners rivalry with the Padres has been split up into a pair of home-and-home series in July and September. Last year, these two teams met in May at a particularly low point in Seattle’s season and a high point in San Diego’s. Of course, both teams went in opposite directions after that series — the Mariners went 69-46 afterwards and the Padres went 49-66. This year, Seattle is hoping for a similar turnaround while San Diego is hoping to avoid another ugly collapse.

Due to an unfortunate offseason motorcycle accident, the Padres superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has yet to see the field this season. His wrist injury is healing slowly and he’s now expected to make his debut after the All-Star break. Despite missing their best player, the Padres have played really well during the first half of the season, pushing the Dodgers for the NL West division crown. Those top two teams in NL West met over the weekend with Los Angeles winning three of four at home. That extended a mini-slump for the Friars; they’ve won just three of their last ten games.

Padres Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Jurickson Profar LF S 350 0.270 118 -0.1
Manny Machado 3B R 299 0.365 156 3.5
Jake Cronenworth 2B L 356 0.289 108 2.3
Nomar Mazara RF L 82 0.351 124 -0.3
Luke Voit DH R 255 0.323 112 -1.4
Eric Hosmer 1B L 296 0.318 105 -2.4
Austin Nola C R 213 0.268 78 -0.7
Trent Grisham CF L 300 0.236 76 1.9
Ha-Seong Kim SS R 285 0.269 94 -0.5

Without Tatis anchoring the lineup, Manny Machado has been doing everything he can to carry the team. He leads all of baseball with 4.3 fWAR and is in the midst of the best offensive season of his career. He twisted his ankle a few weeks ago and missed nearly two weeks of games without hitting the IL. He just recently returned to the lineup, just in time for their huge series over the weekend. After what seems like ages in the league, Jurickson Profar looks like he’s finally broken out at the age of 29. He’s already matched his career high fWAR from his 2018 season and is putting together the best offensive season of his career (119 wRC+).

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

LHP Sean Manaea

85 25.8% 9.0% 11.7% 38.9% 3.92 3.80
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Sinker 62.0% 90.9 2016 71 160 123
Changeup 23.9% 84.0 1426 79 101 104
Slider 13.1% 80.8 2033 86 94 125

Sean Manaea was acquired right before the season started when the Padres learned that Mike Clevinger wasn’t healthy enough to make the Opening Day roster. A familiar AL West foe from his time with the A’s, Manaea is in the midst of another good season for San Diego. His raw stuff doesn’t immediately impress, but his deceptive delivery, low arm slot, and excellent control more than make up for the lack of velocity. Among all sinkers thrown at least 100 times this year, his has the 15th highest whiff rate in baseball. It’s not your typical sinker either. It doesn’t drop off the table or have a ton of armside run either; it’s pretty straight but the atypical movement profile seems to work for him and batters really have a hard time squaring it up. He’ll pair that sinker with a good changeup and sweeping slider.

RHP Mike Clevinger

29 25.6% 8.3% 10.0% 44.9% 2.79 3.36
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 30.1% 94.1 2195 136 80 92
Sinker 10.2% 93.8 2077 77
Cutter 18.0% 88.4 2388 95 116 68
Changeup 14.4% 86.8 1489 84
Slider 24.1% 79.9 2381 91 94 110

Mike Clevinger was traded to the Padres during the shortened 2020 season but only made four starts in San Diego before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. He missed all of the 2021 season and a spring knee injury kept him sidelined until May. He’s made six starts this year and he’s still shaking off some rust. When he’s right, he has a deep arsenal that can produce a ton of swings and misses. Right now, his cutter is the only pitch generating whiffs at an above average rate, but his four-seamer, slider, and changeup have all produced excellent results in the past. That cutter was a new addition to his repertoire back in 2020, and it helped give him another weapon at a velocity band in between his hard fastball and sweeping slider.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 51-27 0.654 -- W-W-W-W-W
Mariners 39-42 0.481 13.5 W-W-L-W-W
Rangers 37-40 0.481 13.5 W-L-L-W-L
Angels 37-44 0.457 15.5 L-W-L-L-L
Athletics 26-55 0.321 26.5 L-L-W-L-L

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Red Sox 44-35 0.557 +1.0 L-W-L-L-W
Blue Jays 44-36 0.550 +0.5 W-W-L-L-L
Rays 43-36 0.544 -- L-L-W-W-W
Guardians 40-36 0.526 1.5 W-W-L-L-W
White Sox 38-39 0.494 4.0 W-L-W-W-W
Mariners 39-42 0.481 5.0 W-W-L-W-W

Thanks to the Astros and Mets, the Mariners leapfrogged over the Angels and Rangers in the standings. Los Angeles was crushed in their series in Houston, getting outscored 21-4 in a three-game sweep; they’ll travel to Miami for a short two-game set to start this week. Texas fared a little better in their series against the Mets, winning one of three; they’ll travel to Baltimore this week. The White Sox swept the Giants in San Francisco over the weekend, helping them keep pace with the Mariners and Rangers in the AL Wild Card race.