After four straight nail-biting, heart-stopping victories, last night was an absolute romp that I think we all needed. Today, the Mariners go for a sweep in Minute Maid Park for the first time since 2018, and having already clinched the season series against the Astros, is it too big of a head to say I like their chances?
Like Thursday’s, today’s lineup for the M’s screams “getaway day”. Dominic Canzone will get his first look of the series, and José Caballero has the day off. Boooo. Brian O’Keefe will be behind the dish in the traditional backup catching role of covering the day game following a night game, and Emerson Hancock will be making his third career big league start. Hancock hasn’t shown much swing-and-miss in his brief time in the bigs, but he has shown flashes of generating plenty of weak contact in both Seattle and Kansas City. This time, though, avoiding a grand slam would be peachy.
The Astros’ top third is unchanged, but there are some moving parts down the rest of their lineup. Noted redass Martín Maldonado is on the bench, and Corey Julks is making his first start of the weekend after appearing as a pinch-hitter - and doubling - last night. Righty Hunter Brown will be on the hill, who came into 2023 following a sparkling debut season over 20.1 innings and ranked as a top 30 prospect in the game per Baseball America. It’s been a bit of an up-and-down year for him, but he’s still racked up 2.1 fWAR across 23 games (22 starts) on the back of solid strikeout totals and a slightly above league-average walk rate. Despite that, Brown has not been great at contact management, so if the Mariners can get ahead in the count and punish pitches they should, it could be a beautiful day for a sweep.
First pitch is at 10:05 - Sunday breaky with the M’s! In a curveball of a broadcasting choice - and one you may have gleaned from the dek - today’s tilt will be broadcast exclusively on Peacock Premium, although there will be some familiarity with Dave Sims and Ryan Rowland-Smith on the call alongside longtime former utility player - and Astro - Geoff Blum. Making a Peacock account is free, but to access the live sports on the service, you’ll have to sign up for a premium plan - the good news is that you can also sign up for a 7-day free trial. Just remember to cancel before that charge comes through! If you don’t want to go through that hassle, though, Rick Rizzs and Gary Hill, Jr. will be broadcasting the action on 710 AM Seattle Sports.
This day in Mariners history:
2018: The M’s topple the Astros 7-4 at T-Mobile Park. Robinson Canó’s tiebreaking three-run dinger in the eighth was the difference, and Edwin Díaz ties a club record by notching his 48th save.
2016: Félix Hernández twirls eight innings of two-run ball, and this time the Mariners don’t Mariner, trouncing the Brewers 8-2. Mike Zunino and Leonys Martín each go deep.
2012: Michael Saunders takes flight with a pair of homers in Cleveland as the Mariners win 5-3. Kevin Millwood notches a quality start despite walking three and striking out none. Statistics!