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Series Preview: Mariners (40-42) at Giants (46-38)

The Mariners make the journey down the coast to San Francisco.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After a truly unexpected series win against the league-leading Rays, the Mariners head south for a seven-game road trip leading up to the All-Star Game. First, to San Francisco for three against the Giants, and then four against the Astros in Houston. I’ll be watching J.P. Crawford at-bats with particular enthusiasm, given his hot couple of weeks. What will you be watching for? Let us know in the comments.

At a Glance

Mariners Giants
Mariners Giants
Game 1 Monday, July 3 | 6:45 pm
RHP Bryan Woo RHP Logan Webb
46% 54%
Game 2 Tuesday, July 4 | 1:35 pm
RHP Logan Gilbert RHP Keaton Winn
50% 50%
Game 3 Wednesday, July 5 | 6:05 pm
RHP Bryce Miller RHP Alex Cobb
45% 55%
*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team Overview

Overview Giants Mariners Edge
Overview Giants Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 103 (5th in NL) 100 (8th in AL) Giants
Fielding (OAA) 11 (3rd) 10 (3rd) Giants
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 99 (7th) 92 (3rd) Mariners
Bullpen (FIP-) 91 (4th) 89 (4th) Mariners

In 2022 the San Francisco Giants finished exactly at .500, in third place in the NL West; this year they were projected to be slightly better in terms of win percentage, and still third in the West behind the Dodgers and the Padres. At the halfway mark, they’re on pace to win a number of games on the higher end of their projections. They’re currently 46-38, and indeed third in the NL West. The Padres, however, trail the Giants and the surprise division leaders are the Diamondbacks (and their Seattle-born All-Star rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll). The Giants rank eighth in team offensive fWAR (13.3), and ninth in runs scored (401). Last month they went on a ten game win streak before losing a series in Toronto, followed by a series against the Mets last weekend.

Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing Mitch Haniger take the field in this series, as many M’s fans had been looking forward to. Long-time Mariners clubhouse leader Haniger signed with San Francisco as a Free Agent last winter, but was hit by a pitch that broke his forearm on June 13th. He had plates and screws put in and will likely be back on the field in the last month of the season.

Giants Lineup

Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
LaMonte Wade Jr. 1B L 300 18.7% 17.7% 0.171 144
Thairo Estrada 2B R 315 24.4% 4.8% 0.162 108
Joc Pederson DH L 189 22.2% 15.3% 0.206 131
J.D. Davis 3B R 300 27.3% 10.0% 0.172 125
Mike Yastrzemski CF L 217 26.3% 8.3% 0.223 118
Patrick Bailey C S 132 28.0% 3.8% 0.220 134
Blake Sabol LF L 218 33.5% 7.3% 0.163 99
Luis Matos RF R 65 10.8% 10.8% 0.069 81
Brandon Crawford SS L 194 26.3% 9.8% 0.122 78

The Giants have a varied lineup, which I tend to group into three categories.

The Rookies: San Francisco has called up several rookies this season, including two of their top prospects. Currently, their lineup has two to four rookies in it per day: outfielders Blake Sabol and Luis Matos, catcher Patrick Bailey, and infielder Casey Schmitt. Of the four, Bailey is having the most offensive success so far, with 1.8fWAR and 134 wRC+ in 35 games. Matos is getting more frequent starts in center field recently because Mike Yastrzemski has been on the ten-day injured list with a strained hamstring. He’s currently rehabbing and is eligible to return this series.

The Breakouts: Second baseman Thairo Estrada doesn’t really count as a breakout, since most of his offensive numbers resemble last season’s, but his contribution by fWAR is much greater than in previous years. Estrada leads the Giants in fWAR with 2.6 and in stolen bases with 18. First baseman LaMonte Wade, Jr., has been steadily better at the plate each month of the season. Wade is 14th in all of MLB in wRC+ (144), walks a lot, and trails only Estrada on the Giants in fWAR (2.0).

The Familiar Names: A wave of familiarity hits when looking at the other names in the Giants’ lineup: J.D. Davis, Brandon Crawford, Joc Pederson, Michael Conforto. All four are seasoned veterans who have name recognition across baseball, and three have played for several teams across the years. The fourth is Crawford, a Giant since his debut eleven years ago. None of these players are having spectacular years, though Davis is hitting well and both Davis and Conforto have double-digit home runs.

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Logan Webb

110 1/3 24.0% 4.8% 17.8% 61.0% 3.43 3.55
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Sinker 39.2% 92.3 110 57 85 0.370
Changeup 36.2% 87.3 73 92 114 0.251
Slider 21.1% 84.2 100 84 87 0.299
MLB: San Francisco Giants at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Logan Webb is the best homegrown Giants starter since Tim Lincecum. He made his debut back in 2019 as a 22-year-old and has steadily improved year-over-year since then. He certainly wasn’t as heralded a prospect as Lincecum, but he’s made significant adjustments to his repertoire to make the most of his pitches. He’s ultra efficient with his sinker, helping him generate weak contact when batters make contact with that pitch while allowing him to throw his excellent slider or changeup late in the count if they can’t. He has impeccable command, an elite groundball rate, and an above average strikeout rate — three traits that make him a pretty complete pitcher.

RHP Keaton Winn

41 1/3 27.1% 11.2% 10.7% 50.9% 4.35 4.15
Triple-A stats

Keaton Winn was ranked 13th in the Giants organization this year by FanGraphs. A Tommy John surgery back in 2021 meant that he lost two whole seasons of development after the pandemic-canceled minor league season in 2020. Despite those setbacks, he quickly rose through the minors last year, jumping three levels and ending the year in Double-A. After starting the year in Triple-A, he made his major league debut back on June 13 and his first start as a big leaguer on June 29. He has a hard fastball that flattens out at the top of the zone thanks to a low release point and a nasty splitter that makes up the majority of his pitch mix.

RHP Alex Cobb

83 2/3 21.9% 5.8% 10.7% 57.6% 3.12 3.19
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Sinker 40.7% 94.8 92 88 88 0.345
Splitter 37.6% 89.9 69 78 86 0.300
Curveball 15.6% 83.6 112 123 64 0.287
Slider 5.5% 86.4 114

Finally (mostly) healthy after three injury-marred seasons, Alex Cobb produced the best season of his career in his first year in San Francisco last year. A spike in strikeout rate in 2021 carried over while he improved his ability to limit hard contact and lowered his walk rate by two points. The result was 3.7 fWAR across 28 starts. Those skills that produced his mid-career breakout are all still intact this season thanks to an excellent splitter that continues to stymie opposing batters. He’s also introduced a sweeper-ish slider to his arsenal this year, giving him a second breaking pitch to attack batters with.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Rangers 50-34 0.595 -- W-L-L-W-L
Astros 46-38 0.548 4.0 W-W-W-L-W
Angels 45-41 0.523 6.0 L-L-L-L-W
Mariners 40-42 0.488 9.0 L-L-L-W-W
Athletics 23-63 0.267 28.0 L-L-W-W-L

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Orioles 49-33 0.598 +4.0 L-L-L-L-W
Astros 46-38 0.548 -- W-W-W-L-W
Yankees 46-38 0.548 -- W-W-L-W-L
Blue Jays 45-40 0.529 1.5 W-W-L-L-L
Angels 45-41 0.523 2.0 L-L-L-L-W

With the series win against the Rays, the Mariners clawed back into single digits back of the Rangers in the AL West. Texas lost two of three to Houston over the weekend, and that series concludes with a fourth game today, after which the Rangers head to Boston and the Astros host the Rockies. The Angels lost two of three to the rising Diamondbacks, and play three in San Diego this week. The Athletics and their -237 run differential won two of three against the White Sox and hope to be similarly victorious in Detroit starting tomorrow afternoon.