BOSTON, MA – MAY 20: Robbie Ray #38 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 20, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
The Mariners are about to start a crucial three-game series with the leaders of the third AL Wild Card, the Boston Red Sox. Seattle was swept in Boston the last time these two teams faced back in May, so this series will be critical for the Mariners to gain ground in the AL Wild Card race. Boston has been riding an incredible hot streak coming into this series, winning 15 of their last 21 games.A remarkable turnaround from their 15-22 start. The Mariners have also been playing good baseball of late winning each of their last four series. This series will feature two of the hottest teams in baseball right now.
The first game features two southpaws in Marco Gonzales and Rich Hill who have similar styles of pitching, as they each use their assortment of off-speed pitches rather than velocity to get batters out. Marco has struggled in his career against the Red Sox, as he is (1-2) with 5.48 ERA in career against Boston.He will need to keep Boston’s potent lineup off balance by changing speeds and elevation to avoid giving up big innings. Rich Hill is (4-0) with a 3.30 ERA against the Mariners in his career, but he did give up four runs on six hits and pitched just two innings in his last start against the M’s back in May. Given neither of these two pitchers have overwhelming stuff, this game could turn into a slugfest.
In the second game the pitching matchup has two right-handed pitchers in George Kirby and Michael Wacha. This is the best pitching matchup of the series with each pitcher sporting low ERAs. Kirby struggled in his last start against the Red Sox giving up five runs in five innings pitched back in May.Hopefully, he can look at the tape from that game and make some adjustments this time around. Wacha was unable to make it through five innings of work in his last start against the Mariners when they faced off in Boston, giving up two runs, four hits, and three walks over 4.2 innings pitched. Expect both Wacha and Kirby to come into this game more prepared to correct the mistakes they made in their previous starts.
For the series finale the Mariners will send Robbie Ray to the mound to face Garrett Whitlock. Ray has had a tough time all year trying to avoid the one big inning, but hopefully will bust loose for several quality starts, and there is no better place for Ray to start than against former divisional rival Boston.He has been okay against the Red Sox in his career going (2-2) with a 4.28 ERA in six starts against Boston. Garrett Whitlock struggled in his last start against the Mariners giving up five runs and 10 hits in three innings. This could be the game Ray finally breaks out of his funk given Whitlock’s struggles against the Mariners.
Rafael Devers/ Xander Boegarts/J.D. Martinez have been on fire in their last 15 games with Devers hitting .333, Martinez batting .356, and Boegarts hitting .309 in that span.
Trevor Story absolutely torched the Mariners in their previous matchup in Boston, as he hit five home runs, drove in 13 runs, and batted .400 in the four-game series.
This series comes down to who can stay hot, and whether the Mariners can adjust against the Red Sox the second time around, after frustrating losses in Boston back in May. On Friday, the M’s offense will need to have a big game or a surprise performance from Marco Gonzales who typically struggles against Boston. George Kirby will look to stay hot as he posted back-to-back quality starts against the Orioles and the Rangers, but likely will face a stiffer challenge in against the Red Sox on Saturday.
The Mariners are hoping Robbie Ray can turn his season around, as he will get the ball in game three of this series in a favorable matchup. The Mariners can cut into their wild card deficit if they can collect their fifth straight series win this weekend.
source: SoDo Mojo