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Series Preview: Mariners (31-33) vs. Marlins (37-29)

The Mariners return home after a rough road trip to face the upstart Marlins.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing weekend series against their Anaheim-based divisional rivals, the Mariners return home and return to interleague play with a rare visit from the Miami Marlins. Fun fact: no two franchises are further away from each other than the Mariners and Marlins, at almost 3,300 miles between the two teams’ home ballparks. The last time the Marlins visited Seattle was way back in April of 2017, when Ichiro Suzuki was still playing in MLB; he hit his third-to-last MLB home run at then-Safeco Field during that series.

At a Glance

Marlins Mariners
Marlins Mariners
Game 1 Monday, June 12 | 6:40 pm
LHP Jesús Luzardo RHP Bryce Miller
45% 55%
Game 2 Tuesday, June 13 | 6:40 pm
RHP Edward Cabrera RHP George Kirby
40% 60%
Game 3 Wednesday, June 14 | 6:40 pm
RHP Eury Pérez RHP Luis Castillo
36% 64%
*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team Overview

Overview Marlins Mariners Edge
Overview Marlins Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 99 (8th in NL) 98 (10th in AL) Marlins
Fielding (OAA) -4 (11th) 9 (1st) Mariners
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 91 (2nd) 88 (3rd) Mariners
Bullpen (FIP-) 97 (9th) 84 (2nd) Mariners

So the NL East is interesting. Atlanta is obviously at the top, because that’s a really good team, but the Marlins have snuck into second place in the division because both the Phillies and the Mets–theoretically also good teams!—are doing their best Sideshow-Bob-stepping-on-rakes impressions. A run differential of -20 suggests the Marlins are overperforming their talent level, but hey, no one is taking those wins away. We’re here for some NL East chaos.

Marlins Lineup

Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Luis Arraez 2B L 253 5.1% 7.5% 0.087 158
Jorge Soler DH R 260 25.0% 10.4% 0.301 144
Bryan De La Cruz RF R 250 25.2% 8.0% 0.167 123
Jesús Sánchez LF L 122 27.9% 9.8% 0.248 140
Garrett Cooper 1B R 177 31.6% 4.0% 0.173 85
Joey Wendle SS L 98 23.5% 7.1% 0.148 90
Jean Segura 3B R 214 15.4% 7.5% 0.046 43
Nick Fortes C R 140 19.3% 6.4% 0.076 64
Jonathan Davis CF R 53 26.4% 7.5% 0.174 124

A huge reason the Marlins are winning so many games and overperforming expectations is contact king Luis Arráez. You might remember Arráez as a Twin, before he was part of a now terrible-looking trade that swapped former Mariners prospect Pablo López and a pair of prospects to pitching-hungry Minnesota for Arráez, the then-AL batting champ. You know how annoying it must be for fans of other teams to watch J.P. Crawford bat? Dial that up to 11 to watch Arráez. Behind Arráez is power hitter and TTO maven Jorge Soler, and then a lot of players the casual baseball fan probably isn’t super familiar with, like long-term minor leaguers Jesus Sanchez and Bryan De La Cruz, both enjoying career years, as well as old friend Jean Segura and former Tampa Bay Ray Joey Wendle. The Marlins lineup isn’t exactly fearsome, but unlike the Mariners lineup, they seem to find ways to get things done.

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Miami Marlins Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

LHP Jesús Luzardo

73 2/3 28.2% 6.6% 10.7% 38.1% 3.79 3.42
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 44.0% 96.7 103 78 122 0.340
Sinker 6.3% 96.6 99
Changeup 18.4% 88.1 91 137 71 0.312
Slider 31.1% 85.1 110 142 98 0.190

The A’s traded Jesús Luzardo to Miami for Starling Marte in one of their last win-now moves in 2021 before tearing everything down the following offseason. His development had stalled out in Oakland and they decided to cut bait on a promising arm in their quest to make the postseason one last time with their old core (spoiler alert: they didn’t). The Marlins took all the raw skills that had made Luzardo one of the best pitching prospects in the majors and honed them into a viable major league arm. He’s throwing his fastballs harder than he ever did in Oakland, still possesses a wipeout slider, and has figured out the command issues that had soured the A’s back in ‘21.

RHP Edward Cabrera

63 29.4% 14.0% 14.9% 53.3% 4.29 4.13
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 26.8% 96.2 104 90 75 0.416
Sinker 9.0% 95.8 107 199 105 0.520
Changeup 30.6% 92.7 87 124 127 0.251
Curveball 24.3% 83.9 103 133 82 0.260
Slider 9.4% 87.7 115 109 154 0.288

A long list of injuries has limited Edward Cabrera’s development to fits and starts. When he has been healthy, he’s had electric stuff that he’s had trouble commanding consistently. His fastball reaches the upper 90s but it isn’t as effective as you’d expect given its elite velocity. There are some shape concerns with the pitch that have led to some loud contact when batters put it in play. Thankfully, he has two elite secondary offerings in his changeup and curveball, with the former being one of the more aesthetically pleasing cambios in the majors.

RHP Eury Pérez

29 24.8% 10.7% 10.3% 27.3% 2.17 4.34
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 47.1% 97.4 123 72 80 0.438
Changeup 10.5% 89.7 88
Curveball 24.3% 86.5 89 114 61 0.201
Slider 18.1% 81.1 99 181 103 0.192

Eury Pérez was the Marlins top prospect and became the youngest pitcher to make an appearance in the majors when he made his big league debut in May. As a 20-year-old who has just two professional seasons under his belt (his first season in the minors was delayed to 2021 after the pandemic-canceled season in 2020), the Marlins will likely handle him very carefully. To that point, he hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning in any of his six starts and his season high for pitches in a single outing is just 88. He throws a fantastic fastball that sits in the high 90s and he pairs it with a hard slider that gets plenty of swings and misses. He has a sky high ceiling and he should be leading Miami’s rotation for years to come.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Rangers 41-23 0.641 -- W-L-L-W-L
Astros 37-29 0.561 5.0 L-L-L-W-L
Angels 36-31 0.537 6.5 W-W-W-L-W
Mariners 31-33 0.484 10.0 W-L-L-W-L
Athletics 17-50 0.254 25.5 W-W-W-W-W

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Orioles 41-24 0.631 +4.5 L-W-W-W-W
Yankees 38-29 0.567 +0.5 L-W-L-W-L
Astros 37-29 0.561 -- L-L-L-W-L
Blue Jays 37-30 0.552 0.5 W-W-L-L-W
Angels 36-31 0.537 1.5 W-W-W-L-W
Red Sox 33-33 0.500 4.0 L-L-W-L-W

The Mariners continue to muddle around in de facto last place in the division after dropping the weekend series to the Angels. They’re on the worst stretch of games in the division over the past week and a half, at just 3-7, worse even than the A’s, who are riding high off a sweep of the Brewers. Bad Mariners! Bad, bad Mariners.