clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Series Preview: Mariners (76-57) at Mets (61-73)

The Mariners head out on a long East Coast road trip beginning in New York.

MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Mets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners face the Mets this weekend for the one and only time this year, playing three in Queens. On the one hand, the M’s come into the series in first place in the AL West, having just set the franchise records for wins in a single month with 21. On the other hand, George Kirby missed a start with an undisclosed illness, Julio is experiencing ongoing foot pain from a pinched nerve, and Ty France sustained a wrist contusion from a hit by pitch earlier this week. Buckle up, for September has arrived and every deal is a big deal!

At a Glance

Mariners Mets
Mariners Mets
Game 1 Friday, September 1 | 4:10 pm
RHP Logan Gilbert RHP Kodai Senga
44% 56%
Game 2 Saturday, September 2 | 4:10 pm
RHP Luis Castillo LHP David Peterson
54% 46%
Game 3 Sunday, September 3 | 10:40 am
RHP George Kirby RHP Tylor Megill
56% 44%
*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team Overview

Overview Mets Mariners Edge
Overview Mets Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 101 (7th in NL) 109 (4th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (OAA) -7 (13th) 10 (3rd) Mariners
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 106 (11th) 90 (3rd) Mariners
Bullpen (FIP-) 109 (14th) 84 (2nd) Mariners

The Mets started 2023 with a record-breaking payroll and high hopes. They had added to their exciting core, bringing in starters Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga, and had a chance to be one of the best teams in the game. A crushing blow knocked them sideways before the season started, however, when star closer and former Mariner Edwin Diaz suffered a torn patellar tendon during a post-game celebration at the World Baseball Classic. I truly cannot highly enough recommend NOT watching a video of that moment; it was devastating. Since then, the Mets have disappointed by being mediocre. They’re below .500, last in the NL East, and 8.5 games out of the NL Wild Card spots. Verlander was traded at the deadline for the Astros’ best prospect Drew Gilbert, now with the Mets’ double-A affiliate. By late July it was clear that the Mets weren’t making the playoffs, so they also dealt future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, reliever David Robertson, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha, Dominic Leone, and Eduardo Escobar.

The Mets were 11-18 in August, and it’s thanks to them that the Rangers are one game behind the Mariners in the West; that one game is the one the Mets managed to win in their series against Texas this week.

Mets Lineup

Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Player Position Bats PA K% BB% ISO wRC+
Brandon Nimmo CF L 572 21.9% 11.4% 0.175 122
Francisco Lindor SS S 568 21.0% 9.5% 0.210 119
Jeff McNeil 2B L 550 10.5% 6.4% 0.087 95
Pete Alonso 1B R 534 22.3% 10.5% 0.294 129
Daniel Vogelbach DH L 294 25.5% 13.3% 0.181 109
Francisco Alvarez C R 356 25.6% 8.1% 0.220 98
DJ Stewart RF L 101 28.7% 8.9% 0.372 172
Mark Vientos 3B R 140 31.4% 4.3% 0.107 48
Rafael Ortega LF L 92 22.8% 12.0% 0.063 87

The Mets have a lot of recognizable names in their lineup. Some are all-MLB stars, like Francisco Lindor, who leads the team with 5.2 fWAR. Some have nationally-recognized lore, like Pete Alonso and his third-in-MLB 39 home runs. Some are beloved former Mariners, like Daniel Vogelbach and Omar Narváez . Lindor, Alonso, and Brandon Nimmo are bats to be wary of any day of the year. DJ Stewart is on a hot hot streak lately in particular; he’s only played in 36 games this year, but has a 172 wRC+ and is getting more play since Canha was traded and Starling Marte went on the IL with a groin strain. New York is reportedly calling up their number four prospect for this series, so keep an eye out for the possible major league debut of infielder Ronnie Mauricio.

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Kodai Senga

136 1/3 28.5% 11.1% 10.5% 46.6% 3.17 3.52
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 36.9% 95.7 107 77 132 0.340
Cutter 25.5% 90.7 92 79 107 0.330
Forkball 23.0% 83.3 87 198 92 0.182
Curveball 2.8% 72.9 90
Slider 5.4% 84.5 100 120 85 0.275
Sweeper 6.3% 81.3 100 73 76 0.508

Kodai Senga’s successful transition to the major leagues has been one of the very few things that’s gone right for the Mets this year. An 11-year veteran of the NPB, he’s been New York’s best starting pitcher this season, surpassing both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander when they were rotation-mates. His signature pitch is a forkball that possesses the single highest whiff rate of any pitch thrown in the majors this year, just a hair over 60%. He doesn’t really have a good breaking pitch in his arsenal, but he’s managed to get by with a solid fastball and his elite ghost fork. Walks have been a bit of a concern, like they were in Japan, but he’s managed to avoid significant damage despite the added traffic on the bases.

LHP David Peterson

84 1/3 24.2% 10.9% 23.2% 55.7% 5.23 4.71
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 26.9% 92.7 78 128 106 0.423
Sinker 24.3% 91.6 95 88 91 0.382
Changeup 18.8% 85.3 83 109 94 0.327
Curveball 8.7% 78.8 91 116 110 0.194
Slider 21.2% 85.3 106 111 98 0.322

David Peterson has been a solid up-and-down starter for the Mets over the past few years even if his overall results have been rather inconsistent. Last year, he posted a 3.83 ERA backed by a 3.64 FIP, both career-bests, thanks to a 27.8% strikeout rate and a low home run rate. Both of those metrics have regressed back towards where they were in 2021 which has sabotaged any progress he had made last year. The culprit might be a new reliance on his sinker instead of his four-seam fastball. That’s elevated his groundball rate but it’s also come with a huge increase in hard hit batted balls. His slider is legitimately a plus-plus pitch but poor command and his contact issues have prevented him from truly becoming a full-time starter in the majors.

RHP Tylor Megill

97 18.4% 10.5% 13.2% 42.3% 5.29 5.03
Pitch Frequency Velocity Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four-seam 54.8% 94.8 90 79 96 0.427
Changeup 15.7% 88.2 86 78 90 0.337
Curveball 8.2% 77.3 104 135 118 0.228
Slider 21.3% 84.1 95 81 74 0.355

It seemed like Tylor Megill was in the midst of an early season breakout last year — he had compiled a 2.43 ERA backed by a 2.45 FIP through his first six starts thanks to a significant increase in fastball velocity. Unfortunately, a serious back injury derailed his promising season and he’s lost all the velocity gains he had enjoyed last year. His fastball has lost a bunch of carry and it’s shape is now pretty hittable. His slider and changeup both had new looks last year and they’re still effective pitches, but he relies so heavily on his heater that he’s simply getting hit too hard too early in the count.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Mariners 76-57 0.571 -- W-W-W-L-W
Astros 77-58 0.570 -- W-W-W-W-W
Rangers 75-58 0.564 1.0 W-L-W-W-L
Angels 64-70 0.478 12.5 W-L-L-L-W
Athletics 39-95 0.291 37.5 L-L-L-W-L

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Tampa Bay 82-52 0.612 +6.5 L-W-W-W-W
Astros 77-58 0.570 +1.0 W-W-W-W-W
Rangers 75-58 0.564 -- W-L-W-W-L
Blue Jays 73-61 0.545 2.5 W-L-W-L-W
Red Sox 69-65 0.515 6.5 W-L-L-L-L

The Mariners and Houston are tied for first in the AL West after Houston swept the Red Sox earlier this week. Houston hosts the Yankees this weekend while Boston, now 6.5 games out of the Wild Card, takes on the Royals. The Rangers, just a game back of the Astros and Mariners, host the Twins this weekend. The Rays two-game sweep of the Marlins this week solidifies their hold on the first Wild Card spot, and they can further that lead as they play the Guardians. Toronto has a chance to fight their way back into a Wild Card spot if they’re able to beat up on the Rockies starting today.