Mariners at Blue Jays, June 29-July 1

Monday, June 28 2021 @ 07:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

The Mariners are coming to Buffalo for this season's first clash between the expansion cousins of '77. (Let's get this up tonight - the Orioles thread is getting somewhat bloated, as often happens after four games.)

Seattle finds itself in a position rather like Toronto's - they have a respectable enough 41-38 record, but first place in the division looks like a long way to go. Which puts them in the hunt for the Wild Card game. Gosh, they be fielding a pretty decent team, no?

No. The trick has been done with mirrors - Seattle has given up 43 runs more than they've scored. But they've gone 18-7 in the one-run games, always the sign of a lucky team. In the blowouts, a much more reliable indicator of a team's quality, they've generally been beaten senseless (5-16.)

They're a team with little star power, having nothing in the way of stars. Perhaps James Paxton was one, once upon a time, but he's finished for the season after facing just five batters. Kyle Seager was an all-star once, but it was seven years ago, and he's now a 33 year old with a .216/.284/.411 slash line. Their best everyday player this season has probably been right fielder Mitch Haniger, whose numbers look eerily similar to Randal Grichuk's, who is definitely not Toronto's best player. (One of these right fielders  is hitting 255/.300/.490 and the other is hitting.267/.297/.469.) J.P. Crawford gives them a good glove at shortstop, and he's having by far his best season with the bat. They also have a couple of pretty decent starting pitchers, and the Jays will see a couple of them (Kikuchi and Flexen.) Kendall Graveman has returned after being out for about a month, and he's been Seattle's best option to close games. Their most frequently used relief pitchers have been Rafael Montero, Will Vest, and Anthony Misiewicz, none of whom would appreciably improve Toronto's bullpen.

The Mariners had been expecting to turn an outfield spot over to their resident phenom, Jarred Kelenic, and leave him there for the next few years. To that end they managed to avoid adding Kelenic to the major league team until May 13. That extra year of control, you see. However, Kelenic hit .174 in his first dozen games, and then he really started to struggle. An 0-37 patch dropped his numbers all the way down to .096/.185/.193 and the kid was mercifully returned to Tacoma for additional seasoning.

The timing could have been better, because centre fielder Kyle Lewis has torn the meniscus in his right knee and won't be back before August. They'd already lost utility man Sam Haggerty, who has actually played more LF than anyone else on the team this season, to a shoulder injury that has him on the 60 day IL, where he struts and frets along with first baseman Evan White. These days Taylor Trammell, Jake Fraley, and Shed Long are filling the two outfield spots alongside Mitch Haniger.

As it happens, Trammell, Fraley, and Long are all LH batters and the Jays should have three LH starters lined up for them.


Tue June 29 - Flexen (6-3, 3.87) vs Ray (5-3, 3.35)
Wed June 30 - Sheffield (5-7, 5.69) vs Matz (7-3, 4.26)
Thu July 1 - Kikuchui (5-3, 3.34) vs Ryu (7-4, 3.41)