As 2024 approaches, have the Mariners done enough to overcome the Astros?

The Mariners had a winning record against the Astros in 2023, winning nine games and losing four. Will the Mariners have a similar record in 2024?
Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Mariners vs Astros: Lineup and hitting

Martin Maldonado, Ty France, Bruce Dreckman
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros / Bob Levey/GettyImages

The position players are one way that the Mariners differ from the Astros. Except for replacing Maldonado with Diaz, Houston's starting lineup remains the same. The Mariners, on the other hand, only have four starting players returning.

Starting Lineup

I look forward to seeing familiar faces such as Cal Raleigh, Ty France, J.P. Crawford, and Julio Rodriguez at bat as well as Mitch Haniger. Our new second baseman, Jorge Palanco, comes from the Twins and is a strong batter and fielder. I am less certain about who will start on 3rd base.

I have heard that former Red Sox player Urias will play there. I have also heard that Dylan Moore and Josh Rojas will man third as a platoon. Then I read that Urias and Rojas will platoon. We will see. Luke Raley will play left field, Last year with the Rays, he hit 19 home runs and stole 14 bases. Mitch Haniger will fill the spot vacated by Hernandez when he signed with the Dodgers. Lastly, Mitch Garver will be the designated hitter. After winning the World Series, he has been very excited to be in Seattle!

As you can see, though the Mariners let go of some higher salaries, Baseball-Reference projects that the Mariners will have a batting average that is around the same or higher as it was last year. Will the coaching team take advantage of the element of surprise when the team plays opponents? I hope that the team gels well in Peoria. We now lack Penn Murfee and Eugenio Suarez who led the music performance last year.

The Astros look much like they did last year. The catcher change is significant, however, for batting. Diaz had a batting average of.282 last year, much higher than Maldonado's .191. The Astros have a higher projected cumulative batting average which is not new. We have lost some experienced players this offseason, but have a higher cumulative batting average. We have not lost ground here. The Mariners had an advantage early last season because Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve were injured. I anticipate that they will start the season in good health.

SEA

Batting arm

2023 BA

Proj. 2024 BA

HOU

Batting arm

2023 BA

Proj. 2024 BA

C: Raleigh

SH

.232

.228

C: Maldonado / Diaz

RHB/RHB

.191

.276

1B: France

RHB

.25

.268

1B: J. Abreu

RHB

.237

.261

2B: Caballero / Polanco

LHB

.221

.254

2B Altuve

RHB

.311

.289

3B: Suarez / Rojas

RHB /LHB

.232

.261

3B: Bregman

RHB

.262

.262

SS: Crawford

LHB

.266

.261

SS: Pena

RHB

.263

.264

LF: Kelenic / Raley

LHB / LHB

.253

.243

LF: McCormick

RHB

.273

.260

CF: Rodriguez

RHB

.275

.285

CF: Meyers

RHB

.227

.240

RF: Hernandez / Haniger

RHB / RHB

.258

.239

RF: Tucker

LHB

.284

.281

DH: Ford / Garver

LHB / RHB

.228

.249

DH: Alvarez

LHB

.293

.292

Average

.246

.254

Average

.260

.269

Substitutes and Position Players

Baseball-Reference projects that these Seattle players will improve their batting averages as will the Houston players. I do not think that either team has a real advantage here.

SEA

Batting Arm

2023 ERA

Proj. 2024 ERA

HOU

Batting Arm

2023 BA

Proj. 2024 BA

Moore

RHB

.207

.218

Caratini

SH

.259

.224

Murphy / Urias

RHB / RHB

.290

.243

Singleton

LHB

.165

.224

Haggerty

SH

.253

.245

Kessinger

RHB

.200

.247

Canzone

LHB

.220

.240

Dubon

RHB

.278

.258

Average

.242

.237

D. Machado

RHB

.226

.241

Average

.226

.241

I look forward to seeing how well the Mariners play against the Astros this year. Repeating their seven-four W-L record in 2024 would be great!

The Mariners play the Astros four times during the season: May 3-5 in Houston; May 27-20 in Seattle; July 19-21 in Seattle; September 23-25 in Houston. Let's finish off with some fun trivia: Were you aware that the Astros used to be called the Houston Colt .45s? As always, go Mariners!