Mariners enter series against Nationals with the season on the line
The Mariners are five games under .500 and they’ve lost the groove they seemed to have found after the Philadelphia series. As they enter a three game series in DC against one of the toughest teams in the league, they need to kick it into gear if they want to save anything that is left in the season.
The Mariners have gone 3-8 since the aforementioned series in Philly. Even though the optimism is running high with players returning from the DL, optimism doesn’t pull them any closer in the playoff hunt.
Simply, Seattle need to win and win now.
If the Mariners go any worse than 6-2 on this road trip to DC, Boston, and Colorado, we will be looking at the Mariners turning to sellers at the deadline. We’ll get into what becoming sellers will look like later, but for now we’re looking at the DC series and the DC series only.
Upon first glance, they timed this trip to the capital perfectly. They miss Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
Scherzer has an ERA of 3.02 and WHIP of 0.989. In 9 starts this year, he’s gone 4-3 and has a WAR of 1.5.
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Strasburg is 5-1 in 9 starts with a 3.28 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He’s been good for 1.4 WAR and that 1-2 punch is about as good as any other in the league.
That’s what you notice right off the bat and things seem great. The problem is, neither of those pitchers are the Nationals’ best this year.
The best is Gio Gonzalez, and yes, the M’s get him in the third game of the series. In 2017, the career 3.70 ERA pitcher, has tossed 9 outings and has posted a 2.86 ERA even with a subpar 1.376 WHIP.
Also facing Seattle are Joe Ross and Tanner Roark. Both have had tough seasons, but if there’s one thing the Mariners have excelled at in 2017, it’s making bad pitching look stellar (i.e. Wei-Yin Chen’s almost no hitter when he entered the game with a 7.00 ERA).
The Mariners see the same ragtag group of starters taking the hill. Christian Bergman pitches the first game. Bergman is coming off of the start of his life. Over 7.1 innings against Oakland last week, he tossed nine strikeouts en route to the win.
Sam Gaviglio gets the second game. He couldn’t have pitched better in his first big league start. He went 5 scoreless innings, but the M’s took their sweet time with the run support and currently has yet to earn a decision.
In the final game, the Mariners get Ariel Miranda. The story of 2017 Miranda is the same it’s always been. Some nights he’s lights out and some nights he’s awful. He’s coming off of his best start of the year, and will look to build off that on Thursday.
The Mariners will pull 2 of 3, leaving DC with a better winning percentage than they have now, but questions will still exist. Hopefully the Mariners make the most of their opportunities and start climbing back to contention.
Next: Are the Mariners already out of the hunt?
- Robinson Cano makes his return from the 10-day DL tonight in DC.
- Seattle recalled Mike Zunino from Tacoma. He has sat out the last 16 games and has put together a successful campaign at AAA in an attempt to get his swing back. Over 12 games he hit .293 with five homers and 11 RBIs.
- This should be the last trip the Mariners take without Mitch Haniger and James Paxton, as both are scheduled to return sometime on the next homestand.