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Series Preview #34: Mariners @ Diamondbacks

I can munch mariners all day.

‘Sea Serpent Attacks Ship’ Photo by Science Source/Photo Researchers History/Getty Images

We have to be better.

After wrapping up yet another disappointing series, this time with the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks welcome the Mariners and we can only hope they won’t slug as much as the Cardinals.

The Mariners enter Arizona with all eyes set on the trade deadline and the big question of what the Diamondbacks will do. We are still in play-off contention and while in it, you have to go for it, but it remains to be seen if the front office will try to pursue aggressively. However it may be, it is probably reasonable to believe that no trade acquisition will make it to this 3-game series.

On the field the Diamondbacks need to improve in all aspects: improve with runners in scoring position (they were 4 for 31 in the Cardinals series), improve in keeping the ball in the park (the Cardinals hit 6 homeruns) and keep games close or within reach out of the bullpen (the Diamondbacks gave up more than 20 runs in the Cardinals series).

Mariners have great pitching.

The Mariners are a .500 team and if we are not careful, the Diamondbacks might soon become one too. With the Diamondbacks sliding down, the Mariners are a steady but unspectacular team that wins one and loses another. Obviously the team expected to contend this season, but soon lost ace Robbie Ray to TJ. Ever since the team has struggled, especially in the outfield. Their hitting is far from good and their .706 OPS belongs to the lower half of the MLB although when translated to OPS+ it is just right below league average (99). The entire batting lineup of the Mariners is achieving poor results, even ace Julio Rodriguez is hitting below average (but that didn’t keep fans from voting him into the All Star lineup).

The bad news here is that the Mariners have great pitching. Both their ERA and FIP are top of the league, although when translated to ERA+ it looks less impressive. Still, the pitching hardly allows a walk, so that is bad news for a Diamondbacks team that has been having trouble already with RISP against worse pitching.

Injury report

  • On the pitching side the Mariners are without starters Marc Gonzales (forearm) and Robbie Ray (TJ). Relievers Penn Murfee and Easton McGee (both TJ) are also unavailable.
  • The batting lineup has to do without first baseman Evan White and outfielders Jarred Kalenic (broke his foot in an angry mood after a strikeout) and no-longer-a-friend AJ Pollock.


Game #1 Fri 07/28 6:40 PM MST, Logan Gilbert (SEA) vs Tommy Henry (ARI).

Kids free weekend.

  • Logan Gilbert. 20 GS, 118.1 IP, 8 W-5 L, 3.88 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 5.52 K/BB.
  • Tommy Henry. 15 GS (16 G), 83.0 IP, 5 W-3 L, 4.01 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 1.71 K/BB.

Logan Gilbert has been a steady #3 for the Seattle Mariners this season. He hasn’t allowed a lot of baserunners, but still has an ERA close to 4 due to his tendency to give up too many homeruns. That sounds a bit odd for a pitcher who pitches most games in T-Mobile Park. Funny thing is that he has been giving up more homeruns at home (10) than away (6). As a matter of fact Gilbert has kept opposing hitters to a .576 OPS in away games, so that doesn’t bode very well for the Diamondbacks. Gilbert’s fastball is rated rather mediocre by statcast, but he is offering a splitter this season with which he has achieved tremendous success.

Before the Diamondbacks announced their starters for the Cardinals series I had Tommy Henry pencilled in for game 3 of that series, but with Merrill Kelly’s return everyone moved up a day. Henry hasn’t tasted victory in July yet. His scoreless performance against the Mets wasn’t enough for a win and in Toronto and Cincinnati he could not make it out of the 5th inning. Hopefully Henry can go deep into the game this time and put himself and the Diamondbacks up for a win.

Given the state of the team, I’d put my money on Seattle for this game.

Game #2 Sat 07/29 5:10 PM MST, Bryan Woo (SEA) vs Brandon Pfaadt (ARI)

Star Wars Night.

  • Bryan Woo. 9 GS, 44.0 IP, 1 W-3 L, 4.91 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 4.15 K/BB.
  • Brandon Pfaadt. 7 GS, 31.2 IP, 0 W-4 L, 8.81 ERA, 7.64 FIP, 1.64 WHIP, 2.70 K/BB.

A duel of two rookies. Bryan Woo lasted just 2 innings in his MLB debut, when he gave up 6 runs against Texas. After that he settled in, got his first win in a game against the Yankees but has been hit hard again ever since the All Star break, allowing 11 runs in 9.1 innings. Woo was pitching in AA before being called up to the major leagues so he’ll probably take a step back again at a certain moment, but has confirmed so far at the highest level the strikeout potential he showed in the minor leagues. But he has been really homer prone, allowing 1.6 homeruns per 9 innings. Especially left-handed batters have demolished Woo with a 1.325 OPS, while right-handed batters have been able to muster just a .339 OPS. That huge split was also present in the 2022 and 2023 minor leagues, so expect the Diamondbacks to take out their lefty arsenal and there is quite a good chance the Diamondbacks take this game.

But it is also possibly that we return to an ugly slugfest in this game since Brandon Pfaadt will take the mound for the Diamondbacks. We can only hope that our top pitching prospect has really turned the tide in his previous outing. It is hard to imagine Pfaadt finishing the game with a clean sheet, but I’ll sign for a 5 inning outing with 2 runs. I am sure that will be enough for the win in this game.

Game #3 Sun 07/30 1:10 PM MST, Luis Castillo (SEA) vs Merrill Kelly (ARI)

Kids free weekend.

  • Luis Castillo. 21 GS, 125.1 IP, 6 W-7 L, 3.02 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 4.44 K/BB.
  • Merrill Kelly. 17 GS, 101.0 IP, 9 W-4 L, 4.82 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 2.64 K/BB.

Luis Castillo is, at least in name, the ace of the Mariner’s rotation and while still good, he has had his rough rides this season. A closer look shows that he has had especially trouble against the better teams in this league. That makes sense, of course, but it also shows that this year he isn’t the real ace you might expect him to be. Cardinals, Astros, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees and Rays have all achieved more than 2 runs against Castillo, who was able to achieve better results against teams like Oakland, Cubs, Pirates, etc. Left-handed batters have gotten good results against Castillo so that is good news for the Diamondbacks and Carroll who could homer therefore in back-to-back games and slug the Snakes to a series win.

Especially with Merrill Kelly on the mound, who, after last night’s outing from Zac Gallen, is the de facto ace of the rotation: his 3.12 ERA is the lowest of all starters. That is the probably the biggest trade deadline reinforcement the Diamondbacks have gotten: the return of the steady and calm Merrill.


I was wrong about the Cardinals series, but this time...we win!

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Yeah, screw AJ Pollock and his team!
    (11 votes)
  • 54%
    The Mariners are even stronger without AJ Pollock and will win the series.
    (13 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now