Mariners have golden opportunity against struggling Royals team in Kansas City

The Mariners head to Kansas City to take on a Royals team that has been struggling recently, providing them a golden opportunity against a top team
Aug 27, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) reacts after getting the final out of the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) reacts after getting the final out of the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Only a couple of weeks ago, the Royals came to Seattle to play the Mariners. before that series, the Mariners had played the Athletics, winning the first game of the series, losing the second, and then winning the rubber match. Now, the Mariners come to Kansas City after playing the Athletics and winning game one, losing game two, and winning game three. They'll look to repeat the results of the first Kansas City series as well that saw them W/L/W, shooting to make it 12 of 16 series that they've won.

Kansas City has looked like two vastly different teams since last playing the Mariners. They left Seattle and went on a big winning streak, taking eight straight games. They immediately followed that up by going 3-7, bringing us to this current series.

The Mariners look to capitalize against a struggling Royals team

There is still a narrative that the Mariners are a "bad" division leader, with the worst win percentage of any of them. Extrapolating it out, you can see that the Mariners are on pace for 91 wins, which is still a pretty good mark. It's just that the other divisions are on pace for 114, 106, 113, 94, and 99 wins. I think it's important to remember that the Mariners have played their last 48 games at a 101 win pace, going 30-18 since that horrendous 6-10 start.

The Mariners definitely need to watch out for Bobby Witt Jr, as he has been playing incredible baseball over the last two weeks. With four homers and three steals, Witt is slashing .352/.397/.593, leading the way for KC. Garrett Hampson has been playing well in limited time, with a .435/.500/.522 in 23 AB over that time frame. The Mariners will look to keep MJ Melendez down, who is just 2-26 over that span, with a single homer and just three walks.

Daniel Lynch IV will start the series for the Royals, and it's just his third start of the season. He's done well, allowing two runs, both coming on solo homers. The Mariners haven't done great against inexperienced pitchers as of late, with the young Athletics starter sitting perfect through six, so let's hope we don't see a repeat performance. That's the only "late" game of the series, as the weekend games will be on at 1:10 PM PT and 11:10 AM PT, respectively.

Alec Marsh throws game two, and he's been struggling as of late. He's given up 10 earned runs in his last two outings, five each to the Twins and Padres. His last good start came against... the Mariners, when he went five and gave up just one earned run, albeit in a loss back on 5/15. He's had a bit of a control problem since that game, giving up three homers and walking 7 in 18 innings of work.

The Royals finish off with Cole Ragans, who's been fantastic of late through his last four outings. He has a 1.13 ERA in his last 24 innings, with 32 strikeouts and eight walks. He has very little experience against the Mariners, having thrown just one inning against them in his young career.

With the Royals sitting as one of the toughest opponents on the Mariners' June schedule, they're facing them at a fantastic time. You get an inexperienced pitcher starting the series, then one who's been getting roughed up before facing their Ace in the finale. Meanwhile, the Mariners will throw Bryce Miller, Luis Castillo, and George Kirby. There hasn't been a weak spot in the Mariners rotation since Woo came back, and it seems like it affects the opponent's psyches when playing the M's. Let's hope it continues.