I'm not worried about the Mariners yet. It's not that they've looked bad, it's that they've been playing bad... if that makes any sense. You can see the talent there. All the opportunities that they find themselves with. However, they just haven't been able to put it together yet. They'll look to right the ship as they leave Seattle for the first time this season, heading to Cleveland for another series against the Guardians.
Cleveland took 3 of 4 against the Mariners, but it easily could've been the other way around. That's a big part of the reason that I'm not nervous yet. Cleveland is a legit great team, and the Mariners looked good despite playing bad against them. Maybe a Thursday off to regroup is just what the Mariners need.
Mariners @ Guardians: Pitching Matchups
Friday, April 7th @ 1:10 PM - Logan Gilbert vs Aaron Civale
Saturday, April 8th @ 3:10 PM - Marco Gonzales vs Cal Quantrill
Sunday, April 9th @ 10:40 AM - George Kirby vs Zach Plesac
We kick it off on Friday afternoon with a rematch. Civale and Gilbert were dominant in their first start, with Civale getting the better of Gilbert and the Mariners. The M's couldn't do anything against him, managing just 2 hits and 1 walk in 7 IP, with just 3 Ks on an incredible 80 pitches. The Mariners will need to work counts like they did against Shohei and either get him out early, or force him into tougher spots.
Marco and Quantrill is a rematch as well, and if it is similar to last time, we should see more offense. Remember, thats the game where Teo nailed Zunino in the shoulder on a throw home, and likely was the deciding factor in the game. Marco actually pitched pretty well that day, and another good start would go a long way towards making fans feel better about him as our back-end starter.
The finale is the interesting one. Neither guy did all that great in their first start. Kirby had a rough outing, but it's Plesac that is hoping to forget his massive stinker of an outing in which he went 1 inning and gave up 6 earned runs. Let's hope the Mariners can repeat that and put up a massive number early.
Mariners @ Guardians: Hitters to Watch
Mariners: Eugenio Suarez and Kolten Wong are the choices, and for opposite reasons. Suarez is on fire, starting the season hitting at a .357/.357/.464 clip. No walks, a K rate of 25% (totally fine), and 3 doubles. He will be looking not just to stay hot, but to find his first homer of the season. With Wong, he is hitting a paltry .063, with three walks and one single. He hasn't been striking out and is putting the ball in play, but needs some of those to fall to build his confidence up.
Also, it seems a bit funny to me that only 4 Mariners have hit homeruns so far. Teo and Pollock both had two in the same game, Julio has one, and France has one. That's it. Could we see a nice bunch of bombos this week in Cleveland?
Guardians: Myles Straw and Josh Bell are the choices here in a very similar fashion to the picks for the Mariners. Straw has started off hot, hitting an impressive .364/.517/.409. Those walks are huge, as Straw is incredibly fast and already has 5 steals. The Mariners will need to keep him off the bases, especially if he is setting the plate for the top of the order. Bell is like Wong, struggling on his new team. He is just 2-22 so far. He can easily catch fire and put up a lot of extra base hits, and pitchers shouldn't take him lightly despite the slow start.
Mariners @ Guardians: Final Thoughts
The Mariners had plenty of chances in the first series against Cleveland. Getting out of Seattle, taking a day off, and hoping to start fresh in Cleveland could be a great spot for the M's. If they can limit the mental mistakes, which have plagued them awfully to start the season, then I think they have a good chance to win the series. They will likely need to score early, as we saw how tough it can be to score on Cleveland late with their incredibly talented bullpen. Enjoy the day off, and get ready for some early baseball throughout the time in Cleveland.