Mariners will need to avoid “Trap” series vs Arizona

The Mariners are heading back to Seattle for a short homestand where they will play three against the Arizona Diamondbacks and three against the Boston Red Sox. Most people are going to be focused on the Boston series because of the wild card and playoff implications.

However, the Mariners are going to need to be careful. This is more a term that you hear in football, and occasionally basketball. The “Trap” game. Looking ahead/past the team that is currently on your schedule, who may be a lesser opponent record-wise, to a team that is more worrisome or a larger matchup.

The Diamondbacks could be a “trap” series for the Mariners.

Think about it. This upcoming series has all the makings of a trap series. Starting Monday, the Boston Red Sox come to town. Even now, I bet some of you opened this article thinking “yeah, but what about the Sox?” You know it’s true. That’s the issue that the team could be facing. It would be really easy to look past the Diamondbacks to the Sox. All of a sudden, the series is lost, and they’re wondering what happened.

Arizona is 45-95, they’ve lost five straight and 10 of their last 11 games. It has the makings, on paper, of a series that the Mariners should have a strong chance at sweeping. Then, there is Boston. A team ravaged by COVID (Chris Sale just tested positive), and just three games ahead of the Mariners in the #1 WC spot.

Even as I’m writing this, I see chatter on Twitter and in our group text here at Sodo Mojo about the Red Sox. Chances are, there is more talk and thought about the Red Sox than there should be in the clubhouse as well. There is plenty to be nervous about with the Diamondbacks though.

Mariners need to be wary of these hitters

Daulton Varsho has been on fire since the all-star break. He has eight home runs and has put up a slash line of .294/.373/.588. His outfield mates have actually been the other top hitters on the team, with David Peralta still chugging along with a .279 average. Ketel Marte is always scary (we all know that), and is hitting .287/.352/.504.

Be wary of Christian Walker and Nick Ahmed as well. Walker has 9 2Bs and is sporting a .248/.346/.380 slash, mostly putting up doubles and walks. Ahmed leads the team since the break with 14 2Bs and is hitting .247.

Mariners should focus on these pitchers

There are actually a fair amount of pitchers that have been throwing well since the break for the Diamondbacks. Clippard has been money out of the pen, with a 2.65 ERA in 17 appearances. Madison Bumgarner is averaging 6.1 innings in his ten starts with a 3.39 ERA, which is better than you would expect. He gets the nod in the opener tonight against Marco.

Tyler Gilbert will get the ball in the finale for them, as is sporting a 3.12 in 34.2 innings. The Mariners might have their hands full with some tough pitching, but it would be nice if either JP Crawford or Kyle Seager could take advantage of Arizona and put a hurting on them. The solution might be getting to the bullpen, as that is where Arizona, outside Clippard, has struggled.

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For the Mariners to stay in the thick of things and have a good chance at the playoffs, taking Arizona seriously needs to be at the top of the list. With all the makings of a “trap” series, Seattle will need to stay focused throughout the weekend.