Mariners head to Toronto looking to right a sinking ship against the Blue Jays

Seattle is off to a slow start in 2024. The upcoming series against Toronto could be used as a springboard into a strong April.
Seattle Mariners v Milwaukee Brewers
Seattle Mariners v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

The Mariners are 4-6 in the first 10 games of the season and are coming off their second straight series loss. Seattle's offense has been lackluster, their top two starting pitchers have ERAs over 5.00, and their defense has been atrocious. While this is a team known for slow starts, change needs to happen, and it needs to happen fast.

A series against another 4-6 team, the Toronto Blue Jays, is a great opportunity for the Mariners to build up some momentum and start playing like the team that was projected to do so well by SoDo Mojo staff. Toronto has an ERA of 5.46, 27th in the MLB. If there is a time for the bats to wake up, it is now.

The Blue Jays are also only 22nd in the league in runs scored, and the Mariners are projected to throw Luis Castillo, George Kirby, and Logan Gilbert. Castillo and Kirby have the opportunity to get back on last year's track, while Gilbert should be able to continue his solid start to the year.

Mariners vs. Blue Jays Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Jose Berrios (1-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Luis Castillo (0-2, 6.75 ERA)
Game 2: Chris Bassit (0-2, 7.71 ERA) vs. George Kirby (1-1, 5.23 ERA)
Game 3: Yusei Kikuchi (0-1, 2.79 ERA) vs. Logan Gilbert (0-0, 3.55 ERA)

The Mariners will face a tough challenge against Jose Berrios in game one. He is a bit inconsistent from year to year but is generally a very solid pitcher and is off to a good start in 2024. Castillo, on the other hand, has been getting shelled. However, his xERA is only 3.51, which is lower than his xERA from last season. Perhaps his luck will start to turn positive against the Blue Jays.

Game two features another Mariners pitcher who has been very unlucky to start the season. Despite his high ERA, Kirby's underlying metrics have been fantastic. He has a FIP of 2.14 and an xERA of 2.46, as well as a K/BB ratio of 17%, which is down from last year but still very strong. Seattle should hopefully be able to tee off on Chris Bassitt, who is walking 4.8 batters per nine innings and allowing almost two home runs.

Former Mariner Yusei Kikuchi takes the mound in the final game of the series. He has seemingly settled into an MLB role with the Blue Jays after a solid season in 2023 and a good start in 2024. He has a very good 10.24 K/9, but Seattle may be able to take advantage of his 4.66 BB/9. Gilbert has been fantastic in his first two starts, with a 1.70 xERA on the back of a 10.66 K/9 vs. 1.42 BB/9. He has been the Mariners' best pitcher this season.

So far, Toronto has been one of the best teams in the MLB at drawing walks. Fortunately, Seattle is an above-average team at limiting free passes, and two of their starters, Kirby and Gilbert, are fantastic at preventing walks.

Another positive matchup between the teams for the Mariners is that the Blue Jays pitching staff is just 6th in the MLB in strikeouts generated. Seattle, despite all the talk this offseason about limiting Ks, is tied for 3rd in the league in strikeouts. If the Mariners can take advantage of a Toronto staff without overpowering stuff, we may see their first game of the season with more than five runs.

Seattle should be able to spoil Toronto's home-opening series and come away with a much-needed series victory, if not a sweep. On paper, it seems like a great matchup where the Mariners counter the Blue Jays well. However, the games are not played on paper, and it remains to be seen if Seattle will come away with their first series win of 2024.