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Mariners Game #80 Preview, 6/30/23: Tampa Bay at Seattle

Mariners begin a Fourth of July weekend homestand against baseball’s best team

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners
just want her back
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After a series loss to the Nationals that many regard as the low point of the season so far, the Mariners have one more series at home before setting off on a road trip before the All-Star Break. That would be a great time to get right as a ballclub and go into the break strong...except they’re facing the winningest team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tonight’s lineups:

No thank you very much to the Rays, who apparently didn’t turn in a lineup soon enough for it to get put into the pretty graphic on the Mariners media site, so we must make do with a screenshot from Rotowire.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: tonight is going to be a struggle for the Mariners. They’re facing the team with the best record in baseball while struggling to put it together themselves, muddling along at a .500ish win pace but at any moment feeling like they might tip over the edge from mediocrity into just plain badness. They’re putting a rookie hurler on the mound against the best offense in the AL by wRC+ in baseball. And their own offense will have to contend with Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan, who just so happens to be excellent at throwing exactly the pitch the Mariners struggle with the most, the dastardly slider, aka 2023 Mariners kryptonite. So rest assured: while tonight will look tough, it probably isn’t the referendum on the team it might feel like, even as tonight lines up to be yet another “big loss on a Friday night series opener homestand in front of a big crowd”, which is one thing, at least, at which these 2023 Mariners have proven themselves adept.

For a deeper dive on the Rays and what makes them So! Darn! Good!, check out Jake and Lou’s series preview from today.

Tonight’s game info:

It’s a 7:10 PT start tonight to accommodate the fireworks, as lest you forgot, it’s Patriotic Fireworks Night. Dave Sims and Dan Wilson will be on the television side on ROOT Sports NW, and Aaron Goldsmith and Gary Hill Jr. will cover radio duties on 710 AM Seattle Sports.

If you can’t get enough patriotism, the Mariners are doing two more patriotic-themed giveaways this weekend: Saturday is the “Cal-boy” hat giveaway, and Sunday is the patriotic-themed fanny pack. I love a useful ballpark giveaway and the fanny pack, which is clear, is a nice option for those of you looking for something to carry to the park, if you can handle its aggressively stars-and-stripes colorway.

NB: Tomorrow’s game is nationally televised on FOX, with Aaron Goldsmith and Tom Verducci on the call, so no broadcast on ROOT, if any of that factors into your plans for this holiday weekend.

Today in Mariners history:

  • 1995: Edgar Martinez finishes June strong, hitting .402 with eight homers and an MLB-leading 32 RBI, although he gets walked three times in the final game of the season by the cowardly Rangers, who nonetheless win the game 10-2. Edgar has the last laugh, though, earning Player of the Month honors for June.
  • 2010: Following Cliff Lee’s complete-game shutout of the Yankees the day before, Felíx Hernández pitches a two-hit complete game shutout at New York. Felíx and Lee become only the third pair of teammates to toss complete game wins against the Yankees in the Bronx on back-to-back days since 1985 (Roger Clemens and Al Nipper (BOS, 1987); Mark Langston and Jim Abbott (CAL, 1991).
  • 2014: Kyle Seager earns AL Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career. Over the span of June 23-29, Seager batted .583 (14x24) with 5 runs, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 8 RBI and a 1.542 OPS.
  • 2015: Mike Montgomery carries a no-hitter into the seventh inning and tosses a complete game, one-hit shutout against the Padres. In doing so, Montgomery lowered his ERA to 1.62, the lowest ever by a Mariners pitcher through his first six starts.
  • 2018: Ryon Healy ties a career-high with four hits against the Royals in a 6-4 win. More importantly, this was the turn-ahead-the-clock game which gave us the best jerseys the Mariners have ever produced, I will not be taking questions at this time.