Mariners look to right the ship on back half of Florida trip against the Rays

The Mariners dropped the ball against the Marlins as they lost the series. Can they right the ship against the Rays before leaving Florida?
Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

While many a fan is disappointed that the Mariners lost the series to the Marlins, it's worth remembering that this is their first "bad" series in quite some time. They happen to everyone, and the important thing to remember for the Mariners is that they have a good opportunity to get back on track before they even leave the state of Florida, as they have hopped over to St. Petersburg to play the Rays for a three-game series before heading home for quite a while.

The Rays are always feisty, and the Mariners have struggled against them the last two seasons (5-9) after going 6-1 against them back in 2021. The Rays would be in the thick of things in the NL as they hover around .500, but instead sit four games back of the surging Red Sox for the final Wild Card spot.

The Mariners need to get back on track against the Rays

This is another series for the Mariners where it just isn't the games that the Front Office will be focused on, but scouting some of the players on the other team as the deadline approaches. We saw that against the White Sox with Luis Robert and some of the bullpen, the Nationals with Lane Thomas, and then the Marlins with Jazz Chisholm and some of their bullpen as well. With the Rays, they've got a handful of pieces they could move before they start getting expensive.

The Mariners played one of their best games of the season against the Marlins in the second one of the series, hitting the ball all over the park behind a masterclass from Logan Gilbert on the way to a 9-0 win. We need to see a better mix of that against the Rays, and it will start in the opener with Bryan Woo on the mound against Taj Bradley.

Bradley has been an absolute monster at home, similar to Bryce Miller, while struggling on the road. He has a 2.10 ERA with seven earned runs in 30 innings, and is only a couple starts removed from one of the best performances of his career when he went 7 strong, giving up two unearned runs while striking out 11. If the Mariners aren't careful, they could see a double-digit K game from Bradley.

With Bradley just having one of his best starts, game 2 will feature Zack Littell, who just had one of the worst starts of his career. He went just two innings, and gave up six runs to the Braves, but turned it around in his most recent outing against the Twins and gave up two through 5. Not a massive strikeout guy, these are the games the Mariners need to continue to show patience at the plate and work the count, knowing that they should get a lot of hittable pitches. Luis Castillo will throw game 2 for the Mariners.

The finale will be George Kirby vs Ryan Pepiot, the lone pitchers for the Rays in this series who has been struggling at home. He has a 5.36 ERA on the season through 40.1 innings, really struggling with command with a 3.57 BB/9 rate. He hasn't gone deep into the game his last two outings, throwing just 3.1 and 4.2 innings. If the Mariners can get either Bradley or Littell out early, this could be a great chance for the Mariners to face a tired bullpen in the series finale.

Personally, I am excited/anxious to watch Randy Arozarena. He would still be a massive acquisition for the Mariners at the trade deadline, and I think that the Mariners and Rays are going to end up working something out between themselves at the deadline to improve the Mariners roster. They've loved trading with eachother in the past, and I could see it happening again this season.

Game one kicks off this afternoon at 3:50, as does game 2 tomorrow. The finale will be an early one, as Wednesday's game is at 9:10 AM PT. Let's hope the Mariners get back on track, and leave Florida with at least a .500 record on this six-game trip through the state.