Going 3-7 on a brutal road trip to start September, the Mariners return home and will look to get back into contention for the division. The Mariners will have 2 of their 3 best arms going and need to rely on their strength to get this back on track. Jarred Kelenic has been recalled with Cade Marlowe being optioned to Tacoma and he will look to inject some new life into a team that has been stumbling.
Logan Gilbert (13-5 3.61 ERA) vs Reid Detmers (3-10 4.82 ERA)
The Mariners will start the series off with their best pitcher over the last month or so, Logan Gilbert. He has gone 9-1 in the last 15 starts with a 3.00 ERA with 8.71 K/9 and only 1.64 BB/9. He will face off against a struggling Angels lineup that has been without Ohtani and Mike Trout. I look for Gilbert to get ahead of hitters early and be aggressive. Hopefully he can give the Mariners some length in the opener and give the bullpen some rest, while building some confidence for this rotation.
The Mariners will square off against Reid Detmers. He was solid in his first full season last year but has really struggled this year, especially recently,. Over his last 7 starts he has only thrown a total of 20. 2/3 innings and has an ERA over 7. In that span, he is walking guys at a very high rate (4.8 BB/9) and has given up 5 home runs. I look for the Mariners to use a heavy right-handed lineup with guys like Dylan Moore and Jose Caballero in favor of Mike Ford and Dom Canzone. The Mariners must be patient but jump on Detmers early and get to their bullpen.
Bryan Woo (2-4 4.50 ERA) vs Patrick Sandoval (7-12 4.31 ERA)
Bryan Woo will get the start after getting his turn in the rotation skipped. He struggled in his last start on September 4 at Cincinnati going 5 innings and giving up 5 runs but walking 3 and hitting 3 batters. He also didn't strike out anyone. This will be a good opportunity for Woo to take advantage of an underwhelming offense lacking real fire power without Ohtani and Trout. Having him healthy and back into form would do wonders for this struggling rotation and taxes bullpen.
He will face off against Patrick Sandoval, who, like Detmers, has struggled over the last 7 games, going 1-5 over 33 2/3 innings. He is walking almost 7 per 9. With another lefty on the bump, I look for a similar right handed heavy lineup to take advantage of the matchup. They will need to be patient and take advantage of Sandoval's struggles. They will likely need to score 5 or 6 runs to win this game as Woo has been scuffling.
Luis Castillo (12-7 3.08 ERA) vs TBD
The Mariners will end the series with their ace on the mound. Castillo has struggled recently, but just like Woo, he will look to take advantage of an offense lacking real threats without Trout and Ohtani. His ERA is over 3.6 over the last 7 starts, but he has managed to go 5-0 during that span. Castillo has been most dominant when he gets ahead and controls the tempo with the fastball early and mix in the offspeed after establishing the fastball. This will help him get deep into the game which this bullpen would appreciate. The Mariners can do themselves a favor by taking the first 2 games of this series and playing with house money with their ace on the mound here.
We don't know yet who the Angels will throw for the final game of the series as it states TBD, but this looks to be Griffin Canning's turn in the rotation. Canning has been solid over his last 7 games going 36 innings with a 3.75 ERA with 12.25 K/9 and only 2 BB/9. The final game of the series will be a pitcher's duel. The Mariners will need to see Castillo bounce back and show us he is ready to lead this rotation on a post-season run. The offense will need to be able to hit their pitches when they get them and take advantage of any and all scoring opportunities because there might not be that many.
The Mariners have fallen to 2.5 games back of the Astros for the division lead and hold a .5 game lead over the Texas Rangers for the final wild card spot. The road trip they just completed really deflated a lot of momentum they were carrying, but 13 of the remaining 19 games will be at home. This homestand is going to be very important to make up some ground and put some space between the other wild card teams.
The first 2 games the Mariners offense will have a lot of opportunities to score, they will just need to be patient and when Detmers and Sandoval make mistakes, they really need to take advantage, something that they have yet to do this month. Game 3 will be a pitcher's duel and one that the Mariners will still have the advantage in with Castillo on the hill, but he will need to get back to Castillo we have come to know this year. With it being a pitcher's duel, it makes it all the more important to take advantage of the lack of pitching the Angels have in games 1 and 2 to win the series.