George Kirby is in the worst stretch of his career for the Mariners

After a ton of hype all offseason about George Kirby as a great pick for the Cy Young award in 2024, the Mariners pitcher is in the worst stretch of his career
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays / Kevin Sousa/GettyImages

Amidst the Mariners' early season struggles, there are a few things that you would've thought that you could count on. Unfortunately, even those have been going poorly for the Mariners so far in 2024. Andres Munoz forgot how to throw a baseball in a game against the Brewers, and now, George Kirby is struggling to make it through the 4th inning of games.

The first outing of the season looked spectacular, and it was what fans expected to see this season from Kirby. He threw 6.2 innings and was in control all game, even though he would walk two hitters, he also only gave up two hits. It's what we loved to see from Kirby. Then, the next two starts happened.

George Kirby has been struggling in 2024... or has he?

He would go 7.2 innings combined in his latest two starts against the Guardians and the Blue Jays, giving up 17 hits and 11 earned runs. It's been the worst two-game stretch of his career. It goes beyond that, though, but not in a negative way. Kirby actually hasn't been pitching terribly, it's that hits have been falling in an unlucky manner. Take a look at some of these numbers.

BABIP - 67 points worse than the league average
Exit Velo - 1.4 mph better than the league average
Hard Hit Rate - 11.5% better than the league average
FIP - 2.95
xERA - 3.61

What all of this tells me is that Kirby really has just been having bad luck. Yeah, guys are putting the ball in play, but too many of those balls are falling that shouldn't be, and it's not that he is getting hit hard to see them fall either. To put more perspective on it, that exit velo is actually the lowest of his career, as is the hard hit rate (reminder, the hard hit rate is the percentage of balls hit at 95 mph or higher).

The FIP (Fielding Independant Pitching) is the lowest of his career, and the xERA is lower than it was last season. Is Kirby struggling? Yeah, he is in a way. He's laboring through games, and it took 87 pitches to get through four innings against the Blue Jays. Those numbers are all good signs that this is more of a blip than anything else for Kirby. Unless the bad luck continues, look for Kirby to get back on track over his next couple of starts.