Series Preview - Mariners (17-21) @ Red Sox (15-22)
If we lose this series, we lose all the momentum built from the last two series. We split this series I'm still disappointed. We win this series? It's real.
Thursday, May 19th 7:10 PM - George Kirby (0-0 0.90 ERA) vs Rich Hill (1-1 2.89 ERA)
Friday, May 20th 7:10 PM - Robbie Ray (4-3 4.62 ERA) vs Michael Wacha (3-0 1.38 ERA)
Saturday, May 21st 4:10 PM - Chris Flexen (1-6 4.35 ERA) vs Garrett Whitlock (1-1 2.43 ERA)
Sunday, May 22nd 1:35 PM - Logan Gilbert (4-2 2.40 ERA) vs Nathan Eovaldi (1-2 4.32 ERA)
Coming off of our best (2nd) series win of the season, The Red Sox host the Mariners. I haven't had the chance to watch any Mariners ball this season, so I don't really have a vibe for how their team is looking, but that's what Statcast is for. Kicking things off we'll get Rich Hill versus George Kirby. Their lineup is one of the better performing lineups we have seen this season. It isn't necessarily the power numbers of an Astros or Yankees, but they are consistent. Ty France has been leading the way with a .325 AVG, plus 6 homers and 27 RBI. Supporting France, they have JP Crawford at SS batting .300, former Reds Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez (what a fucking name) with 14 and 19 RBI respectively. Suarez also leads the team in home runs, with 7 on the season. Adam Frazier, another new Mariner, has put together a solid first month as well, with 40 hits, 9 of which are doubles. This group has seen Hill a solid amount, with 49 ABs against him. It seems that the guys who have seen him the most also like seeing him the most, with Eugenio Suarez and Steven Souza combining to 9 for 20 against him, Suarez having 2 bombs. The one spot Hill really excels against this lineup is he has 18 Ks to 2 BBs, so hopefully if he finds himself in trouble he can sit some guys down without any damage done.
George Kirby has strong stats coming into Thursday's matchup - 1 ER in 10 IP, 8Ks an 1 walk. This will be the former (2019) first round pick's third career start in the Majors. His first came 2 weeks ago against Tampa Bay, who he tore up, allowing 4 hits over 6 innings, no earned and 7 strikeouts. More recently, he was less impressive against the Mets, but still was very strong, going 4 innings, allowing 1 run, but only getting 1 K and allowing his only career walk thus far. He throws a 4-Seamer over 50% of the time, mixing in a slider 25% of the time, then will use his Changeup, Curveball, and Sinker. His fastball seems to hang out up in the zone which should benefit guys like Xander and JD, but Devers may struggle chasing the high heat. The fastball comes in at just a shade below 96, with his slider and changeup being at 88 and 85 respectively.
Friday is the return. Darth Wacha. To remind you where he is at on the season so far, he has allowed 4 runs in 26 innings, only giving up 13 hits in that time. He also has 19 Ks and 11 walks. All of that comes to 1.38 ERA. Now, why am I not going into the stats of how he fares against the Mariners lineup? Because he is technically not yet active and Statcast only shows active players versus lineups. So just pretend that all of this is filled up with super interesting stuff about how he does against Luis Torrens.
The Sox will get old nemesis and defending Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. We actually have pretty good numbers against him, seeing him for 187 plate appearances, picking up 39 hits, with 20 of those being XBHs (7 doubles a triple and 12 dongs). Kiké has been most dominant off of him going 12 for 52 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 5 HRs. Story has also seen him very well, going 8 for 28 with 3 HRs. Rafael Devers and Kevin Plawecki have also put up solid numbers, going 5 for 11 and 3 for 6, both with a homer. Ray doesn't seem to be back in the Cy Young running this year, allowing 25 runs (all earned) over 48.2 innings, and 7 home runs. He does still strike guys out at a high clip, sitting at 50 currently, good for 12th in MLB.
Saturday is going to be 93. You'd have to be a real idiot to go to this game and sit in the bleachers (it's me, I'm idiot). Top tier name matchup in this one: Chris Flexen vs Garrett Whitlock. That sounds like a WWE Match at Survivor Series for the Intercontinental Championship. No holds barred, 1 v 1 ladder match, the champ, Whitlock with his signature move the Rule 5 takes on Chris Flexin' Flexen. Only on PPV. Flexen has seen this lineup a couple of times and has done very well. .156 AVG and .188 Slug against our guys, with no one having more than a single hit against him. I think he's scared of JD. his xBA and xSlug are .668 and .742, and he has an EV and LA off him of 89 and 12. That means he is going to eventually put one in the right field bullpen off of him. He has a 4 pitch mix of a 4-Seamer, Cutter, Changeup, and lastly a Deuce. He isn't going to blow you away, he sits around 91 with the Fastball and 87 with the Cutter, then his Changeup and Cutter drop down to 81 and 75. My prediction for this game is he lets up 5 earned in 4 and 2/3 innings. Bet Over .5 runs first inning for the Sox if you like free monies.
Whitlock hasn't faced anyone on this Mariners team, so I got him having his best start so far this season. Wanna know why? In day games this season, he has pitched 4 times, starting one of those. 11.2 IPs, only 1 Earned Run and it was that bullshit chip-shot at Yankee stadium opening day. Whitlock with the win on Saturday. Book it.
Lastly, on Sunday, we have Eovaldi versus Gilbert. Logan Gilbert sounds like the opposite of Chris Flexen. Logan Gilbert is your check-in person at the RMV. Now, we both know how Eovaldi's last start went. A record-tying amount of home runs allowed in a single inning is *checks notes* bad. But, since we have literally only seen him pitch that poorly in that one game since he joined the squad, we can call it an outlier and move on from it. If he poops his pants again, we get worried. For now, though, it is just an anomaly. Against this Mariners lineup, he has 29 PAs, 7 hits allowed to 9 Ks and 1 walk. That is really fucking good. The perfect time to get his confidence back and get back on track. Only 4 guys have hits off of him - Steven Souza at 2 for 8 and Ty France being 3 for 6 are the big 2. Neither of them have great advanced numbers on their hits though, .147 xBA against Eovaldi for Souza and a negative average launch angle for France aren't super promising.
On the other hand, we have Logan Gilbert CPA. And whelp, to put things plainly, he kind of shit on us when we faced him. Xander with a double in three ABs, JD 0-2 with a K, Devers 0-3 with 2 Ks. Not good. Gilbert is in his second year and features the MLB The Show 2023 default 4 pitch mix of 4-Seam Fastball 58% of the time, Slider 25% of the time, and a Curveball and Changeup making up the remainder of the percentages. His fastball is his put away pitch, averaging 95.6 MPH. Batters have a .186 average when putting his fastballs in play. His weakness is definitely his curveball. He has a tendency to hang it out there right over the heart of the plate. If we can sit on those and drive them, the hits will be there, but if he gets ahead in counts we may be in some trouble.
In summation - Please win this series so I know we are really trying to contend this year.
Thursday - I have no read on this tbh. It's going to be kind of shitty out, little cold, seems like an under game if you ask me.
Friday - Again, struggling to get a read on this one. Just kind of hoping that Wacha looks good. Under again.
Saturday - Sox O .5 runs in the first inning, Sox overall, JD Home Run
Sunday - Sox