After taking the three-game series from the Minnesota Twins, the Mariners now head to Baltimore to face the 4-5 Orioles. Kyle Seager and the Mariners will play four games against the birds and it should be an interesting series. The Orioles started the season by sweeping the Boston Red Sox but haven’t been playing well since then.
You might be surprised to hear this, but the Mariners and Orioles are almost identical. Both teams have very similar stat lines to start the 2021 season and are on a similar timeline for competing in the MLB.
Similarities between the Mariners and Orioles
A lot of the things the Mariners are struggling with are the same things the Orioles are struggling with. Seattle has a 5.27 team ERA and the Orioles have a 5.05 team ERA which are in the bottom 10 of the league. On paper, the M’s have a much better pitching staff compared to Baltimore but their staff has been able to minimize the damage this month. Here are some other pitching stats that are similar:
- Mariners: 15 HR, 80 hits, 1.48 WHIP
- Orioles: 14 HR, 85 hits, 1.40 WHIP
The offenses are quite similar as well. The Mariners have only hit eight home runs and the O’s have only hit nine.
- Mariners: .227 BA, .311 OBP, .363 SLG, 5 SB, 96 K’s
- Orioles: .225 BA, .289 OBP, .363 SLG, 4 SB, 111 K’s
To summarize, both teams aren’t very good right now and are lucky to be where they are. The Mariners have been very inconsistent which has led to some blowout losses but at the same time, high-scoring narrow wins like yesterday. The Orioles have almost done the same exact thing and I’d expect more of that during this series.
As I also noted, both teams are on a similar timeline to become real competitors in the MLB. The Mariners are slightly ahead in the rebuild process but the Orioles aren’t far behind. The M’s have the third-best minor league system according to MLB.com, and the O’s have the fifth-best system. That being said, you don’t see too many big names on the Orioles roster right now and I think the M’s have a slight offensive advantage on paper.
Probables and what to expect
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4/12: Today, Justus Sheffield is supposed to square off against Dean Kremer, the Orioles’ seventh-ranked prospect in the organization. Kremer was acquired in the Manny Machado trade and had a good 2019 season in Double-A, but struggled in his four starts in Triple-A. The 25-year-old debuted in 2020 and posted a 4.82 ERA in four starts. This year, his first start was against the Yankees and he only went three innings while allowing three runs.
Kremer is still young and trying to get a grasp of the big leagues so the Mariners need to pounce on him early and take advantage of his lack of experience. If Justus Sheffield can have a bounce-back start, the Mariners should be in good shape to come out on top.
4/13: Game two might be a tough matchup for Seattle. We have Nick Margevicius on the bump and John Means will be in the white and orange. Marge will make his first start of the 2021 regular season and will look to carry his great Spring Training into the regular season. John Means was an All-Star in 2019 and can be very effective when his stuff is on. He threw seven innings of scoreless baseball on Opening Day against the Red Sox and he was nearly untouchable. The Yankees got to him in his last outing and he was only able to throw 4.2 innings while allowing one run.
Means has a great changeup which could be tough on the Mariners hitters who have struck out way too often this year. The Seattle hitters need to be aggressive early in the count and look for his fastball which isn’t overpowering. To be quite honest, I think game two is going to the Orioles just based on how bad the M’s have been with the bats.
4/14: On the 14th, Justin Dunn will start for the Mariners against Matt Harvey. This will be another interesting pitching matchup because both guys haven’t been great. We all know about Dunn’s consistency issues and that’s going to be a huge problem if he walks eight batters again. Matt Harvey isn’t the same old Dark Knight so the M’s have a shot of roughing him up as well.
Harvey has allowed six runs in 9.2 innings pitched both against the Red Sox. He allowed a good amount of hits to the Red Sox so if Seattle can put together a few hits and a dinger, we will be in good shape. The outcome of this game heavily relies on Justin Dunn because the Orioles are vulnerable on offense as well. They lead the league in strikeouts, but you have to get ahead in the count first.
4/15: For the final game of the series, Marco Gonzales looks to rebound after two bad starts to start the 2021 season. The Orioles will have Bruce Zimmerman, another young pitcher on the mound for them. The 26-year-old southpaw has made two quality starts. He’s allowed six runs in 12 innings against the Red Sox. Zimmerman is quite similar to John Means and will attack with the fastball, change speeds with the changeup, and throw a curveball as his third pitch. The young starter doesn’t have the stuff to blow by batter’s so it will just be a matter of being aggressive in the zone for the M’s.
I have a lot of faith in Marco so I expect him to give the Mariners a chance to win this game and the series. The offense just needs to do its part and knock Zimmerman around which I think is more than doable.
As far as the Orioles bullpen, they have been alright. They have a few guys that have been lights out including Tanner Scott, Adam Plutko, and Cesar Valdez, but the rest of the pen is pretty thin. Sounds a lot like the Mariners right? So, if the Mariners can get to Dean Kremer and John Means early in the game and force the team to use the bullpen, it could really benefit the Mariners by the time we get to the third or fourth game.
With all that being said, I think we are in store for a pretty competitive series despite the Orioles being projected to be one of the worst teams in the MLB. The Mariners need to take advantage of this easier matchup because we have some tough matchups coming up this month.