The Mariners have traveled all the way to the lesser Washington in order to play a two-game series against the Washington Nationals. Jesse Winker is back for the Mariners after serving his slightly reduced and ridiculous six-game suspension. That means the only thing left is for Julio Rodriguez to serve his single game that he earned fighting against the clowns a couple of weeks ago.
Part of me wishes that Julio would’ve taken his back in between JP and Winker. The MLB had a golden opportunity to put these games on National television as a showcase between two of the games brightest young stars, headlining it around Julio vs Juan Soto. Instead, we are only going to get one of those with Julio being out. But we all know Manfred, and when you’re just playing for some piece of metal, why should people care.
Anywho, back to the series preview.
Mariners at Nationals: Pitching Matchups
Tuesday, July 12th: Chris Flexen vs Josiah Gray @ 4:05 PM
Wednesday, July 13th: TBD vs Erick Fedde @ 9:05 AM
Chris Flexen will look to continue his consistent 2022, although we will hope that the Mariners can provide him with some run support. It’s been really rough at times for him this year, with plenty of games of 0-2 runs of support being scored. It’s not like they’re going up against DeGrom in all those games either. Gray has been turning it up lately, dealing with a bit of a BB issue, but striking out plenty of hitters.
Game two is where the unknown comes in. The Mariners haven’t announced (at least by the time I’m writing this) who is going to be throwing game two. That comes from the recent announcement that they have sent George Kirby down in order to help limit his workload, but still keep him active. They’ll be going up against Erick Fedde, walking 4.4/9 with a 1.49 WHIP and a 5.01 ERA, so they should have a good chance to score in that game.
Mariners at Nationals: Hitters to Watch
Mariners: Jesse Winker, Adam Frazier, Carlos Santana
Nationals: Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Nelson Cruz
So, why did I pick those players? Well, for the Mariners, I went with Winker because I want to see what kind of fire he is going to play with coming back from the suspension. Is he going to be a different hitter? Could this finally be what was needed in order to kickstart his bat and get him back to some semblance of the hitter that Reds fans saw last year? I sure hope so.
As for Frazier and Santana, I want to see if Santana can continue hitting. If he can hit like this, in the upper 200s with a fair amount of pop, the Mariners are going to be able to focus more on the trade deadline at specific positions, because they will have a nice surprise bat in their lineup with Santana. With Frazier though, he needs to start proving himself, or else the team is likely going to be looking hard at a replacement for him.
On the other side, I want to see Bell. He is likely going to be the top target at the trade deadline, and if Santana falters, the Mariners could be interested in Bell. 12 HR and a .304/.386/.491 slash are pretty darn good and could produce even more in the Mariners lineup. As for Soto and Cruz, Soto is just a joy to watch, and I miss boomstick.
Mariners at Nationals: Final Thoughts
Look, the Mariners are on fire. You can’t argue it for a team that has gone 16-3 over their last 19 games. However, this is the exact type of situation that fans and players cannot overlook. Yes, the Nationals have one of the worst records in baseball. With Bell and Soto, it only takes a couple of swings to change a game, so they will need to be careful. Splitting the series, even though we want a two-game sweep, would be totally fine.
The Mariners are coming off of a much-needed day off, and the team should be feeling good heading to the lesser Washington. The hope is that the day off didn’t kill their momentum. It’s also going to make for a wonderful Thursday in sports, with the Mariners playing an early game and the Open Championship going on at St. Andrews. It may be the dog days of summer, but it’s a great time to be a Mariners fan. Go Mariners!