Friday, June 2, 2023
UFC Gym UFC Store

MLB Preview: Houston Astros (17-15) at Seattle Mariners (15-17)


TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros and Mariners will play the middle game of their three-game series in Seattle tonight with a pitching matchup of RHP J.P. France opposite LHP Marco Gonzales… France, 28, is making his Major League debut tonight in what is coincidentally his 100th career professional appearance… meanwhile, the veteran Gonzales has 158 career Major League appearances, including 13 against the Astros, in which he’s gone 2-9 with a 4.89 ERA (40ER/73.2IP).

TODAY’S ROSTER MOVE: The Astros have officially recalled RHP J.P. France (#68) to the Major League roster…to make room for France on the roster, the club optioned RHP Ronel Blanco to Triple A Sugar Land.

VIVE LA FRANCE!: RHP J.P. France has had a strong start to the season at Triple A Sugar Land, including a 2-1 record, a 2.33 ERA (5ER/19.1IP), a .136 (9×66) opponent average and 26 strikeouts in 19.1 innings…additionally, he has not allowed a homer yet this season, while pitching in the extremely hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Astros are 9-4 on the road this season, which ties as the best road record in the AL, along with the Rays…the Astros have played four full road series and have already produced impressive series victories over the Pirates (2-1), Braves (3-0) and Rays (2-1)…this continues a trend for Houston, as the club was an AL-best 51-30 (.630) on the road last season and are 104-71 (.594) on the road since the start of the 2021 season, which also is tops in the AL.

LAST NIGHT’S THRILLER: The Astros and Mariners played a great game last night, which ended in a 6-4 Astros victory…it was DH Yordan Alvarez (1×4, 3RBI) early, who hit a three-run homer in the 3rd to put Houston ahead…Seattle battled back to tie the game at 4-4 heading into the 9th…in the top of the frame, the Astros plated two more on a two-run homer by RF Kyle Tucker (3×4, 2RBI), which proved to be the game-winner…RHP Cristian Javier (3ER/7IP) had a strong start for the Astros, but was plagued by just one three-run inning…RHP Ryan Pressly (0ER/1IP) picked up the save, his fourth of the season.

GARCIA OUT FOR THE SEASON: Announced last night, RHP Luis Garcia will undergo ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John) on his right elbow…a date for the surgery has not been set…Garcia left his last start on May 1 in the 1st inning after experiencing discomfort in his right elbow…he will be out for the remainder of the 2023 season, but is expected to return at some point during the 2024 season.

LATE ATTACK: The Astros offense has come alive late in games this season, producing 66 runs in the 7th inning or later, which ranks second in the Majors trailing only the Dodgers (69)…the Astros top two innings, in terms of runs scored, this season have been the 7th (25 runs) and the 8th (22 runs).

STUFF OF NIGHTMARES: LF Yordan Alvarez has been at his best in the big moments in his career, especially this season…he’s hitting .476 (10×21) with RISP, .583 (7×12) with RISP and two outs, .800 (4×5) with the bases loaded, and .421 (8×19) in close and late situations…Baseball-Reference has a leverage metric, which lists Alvarez as hitting .563 (9×16) with four homers, 23 RBI and a 2.088 OPS in high leverage situations.

TRAFFIC:LF Yordan Alvarez has opened his season by reaching base safely in all 26 of his games, which is the franchise record for a start-of-season streak, besting three previous 25-game streaks (Alex Bregman in 2020, Jordan Schafer in 2012, Denis Menke in 1969)…it is also the the longest streak in the AL this season…going back to last season, Alvarez has reached base safely in a career-long 30 straight games.

SUCCESS VS. SEATTLE: LF Yordan Alvarez has been great against tonight’s starter LHP Marco Gonzales, posting a .438 (7×16) average with a double, two homers and a 1.351 OPS in his career off the lefty…success against the Mariners has come often for Alvarez, who’s hit 14 career homers in 44 regular season and postseason games vs. the club…including the postseason, Alvarez has six homers in his last 12 games vs. SEA.

EARLY RANKINGS: The Astros have three players currently ranking within the top 10 in multiple categories the AL…LF Yordan Alvarez ranks tied for third in RBI (30) and tied for 10th in homers (7)…3B Alex Bregman ranks second in walks (23), while RF Kyle Tucker ranks tied for eighth in walks (19).

ON THE BUMP: The Astros rank second in the Majors in team ERA (3.22), trailing only the Rays (2.90)…their starter’s ERA of 3.45 ranks third in the AL, while their bullpen ERA of 2.88 ranks fifth in the AL.

LAST START – 4/28 AT RENO (AAA): last pitched on Sunday at Reno, against the Triple A affiliate of the D-backs…tossed 4.2 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks…struck out 6 and tossed a season-high 83 pitches…left the game in line for the win, but Reno rallied late to hand the Space Cowboys a 6-3 loss.

ABOUT FRANCE: rookie right-hander is making his Major League debut in a start tonight…tonight is coincidentally his 100th career appearance as a professional.

• was originally a 14th round pick by the Astros in the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State…the 2023 season is his sixth in the Astros system.

FRANCE’S 2023 SEASON: has been the Triple A Sugar Land Space Cowboys best pitcher this season, going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA (5ER/19.1IP) in 5 games (3 starts)…has worked between the rotation and bullpen in the Space Cowboys piggyback starter role.

• has 26 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, while allowing just 9 hits on the season…has posted a .136 (9×66) opponent average and a 1.03 WHIP.

• has not allowed a home run this season in the extremely homer friendly Pacific Coast League…in fact, has not allowed a homer since Aug. 13, 2022 at ELP…since that date, has made 17 total appearances (36IP) at the Triple A level.


TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue a 6-game homestand with the second of 3 games against the Houston Astros (0-1)…the Mariners are coming off a 9-game road trip (5-4) against the Phillies (1-2), Blue Jays (1-2) and Athletics (3-0)….the Texas Rangers (3 G, 5/8-5/10) will also visit T-Mobile Park on the homestand…tonight’s game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS with Aaron Goldsmith and Mike Blowers on the call and broadcast live on Seattle Sports (710 AM) and with Rick Rizzs and Dave Sims.

ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners dropped last night’s series opener to Houston by a 6-4 score…despite the loss, Seattle has won 4 of its last 5 games…8 of Seattle’s last 9 games (4/25-c) have been decided by 2-or-fewer runs, including 5 one-run games during that stretch…Seattle is 7-10 at T-Mobile Park and 8-7 on the road this season.

• Marco At Home – In 70 games (68 starts) at T-Mobile Park, Marco Gonzales is 28-17 with a 3.75 ERA (171 ER, 410.1 IP) with 91 walks and 325 strikeouts.

• Never Give Up – The Mariners have won 4 of their last 5 games…each of the 4 wins have been come-from-behind victories.

• City Connect – Last night, the Mariners debuted their Nike City Connect uniforms.

• Another France – Astros right-hander J.P. France is set to become the 49th pitcher to make his MLB debut in a start against Seattle and the first since Cody Morris-CLE on Sept. 2, 2022.

NUMBER ONE IN THE SCORECARD…the Mariners pitching staff leads the Majors in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (6.1), ranking ahead of Minnesota (5.5) and Tampa Bay (4.8)…Seattle pitchers also lead the Majors in Fielding Independent Pitching (3.50), soft-contact percentage (20.3), swing percentage/ number of pitches swung at (48.9), zone percentage/number of pitches in the strike zone (44.1), fewest barrels (42) and barrels-per-plate appearance percentage (5.2)…Mariners starting pitchers rank 2nd in fWAR (4.0) behind Minnesota (4.6)…Mariners relief pitchers rank 3rd in fWAR (2.1) behind Los Angeles-AL (2.3) and Baltimore (2.2).

KOLTEN HEATING UP…Kolten Wong hit a bases-clearing double in the 5th inning last night, his second consecutive multi-RBI game…over his last 7 games (4/23-c), the second baseman is batting .417 (10×24) with 2 runs, 2 doubles, 5 RBI and 2 walks with a .962 OPS…Wong has reached base safely in each of his last 8 games (4/22-c) and hit safely in each of his last 4 games and 6 of his last 7.

IN-SPEIER-ING MOUNDWORK…Gabe Speier is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER, 12.2 IP) with 1 walk (intentional) and 10 strikeouts in 15 appearances out of the Mariners bullpen this season…he’s posted a 0.789 WHIP…the lefty’s 12.2 innings without allowing a run are 2nd-most in the Majors, trailing only Yennier Cano-BAL (14.0 IP)…Speier also ranks 2nd in bWAR (0.8) among ML relievers to Cano (1.3).

JK: JUST KRUSHIN’…Jarred Kelenic has been one of the most effective hitters in the American League this season, batting .302 (32×106) with 14 runs, 9 doubles, 7 home runs, 15 RBI, 5 stolen bases and 10 walks, while getting on base at a .359 clip, slugging .585 with a .944 OPS in 30 games this season… Kelenic has the 5th-highest slugging percentage in the AL…the 23-year-old outfielder carries a 162 wRC+, ranking 6th in the AL to Brent Rooker-OAK (218), Yandy Diaz-TB (193), Matt Chapman-TOR (191), Randy Arozarena-TB (183) and Mike Trout-LAA (166).

GREAT DEFENSE…the Mariners are tied for the Major League lead in Outs Above Average (11) with Arizona according to Baseball Savant…Seattle also ranks T5th in the Majors in Defensive Runs Saved (10) according to FanGraphs, trailing Milwaukee (25), Arizona (17), Detroit (17) and Toronto (15)…Seattle has made 11 errors this season, 4th-fewest in the Majors behind Arizona (9), San Diego (9) and Houston (10).

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, NOW WE HERE…batters occupying the 9-spot in the Mariners lineup have reached base 47 times this season, most in the Majors…Seattle 9-hitters have reached base at a .392 clip, by far the best in the big leagues and ranking ahead of Oakland (.345 OBP) and Philadelphia (.344)…Seattle 9-hitters are hitting .277 (28×101), 3rd-best average in the Majors.

PAUL DON’T LIE…Paul Sewald is 9-for-9 in save opportunities this season, going 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA (5 ER, 17.0 IP) with 4 walks and 22 strikeouts across a Major League-leading 17 appearances…the righty has posted a 0.765 WHIP while holding opponents to a .153 batting average (9×59) this season…in 144 appearances with the Mariners (2021-c), Sewald owns the best WHIP (0.879) and lowest opponent batting average (.161/83×517) in franchise history among pitchers with at least 100.0 innings pitched…Sewald is also approaching his 200th strikeout in a Mariners uniform, totaling 198 coming into play today.

CLOSE GAMES…the Mariners have played in 21 games this season decided by 2-or-fewer runs, tied for 2nd-most in the Majors with the Angels and trailing only Cleveland (22)…Seattle is 9-12 in games decided by 2-or-fewer runs this season.

THE BULLY ‘PEN…over their last 7 games (4/27-c), the Mariners bullpen leads the Majors in ERA (1.16), allowing 3 earned runs over 23.1 innings of work, walking 8 and striking out 33…overall this season, the bullpen has 11 saves and a 2.87 ERA (37 ER, 116.0 IP), 4th-best bullpen ERA in the Majors…Seattle relievers have 52 walks (9 intentional) and 131 strikeouts.

J.P. THE ON-BASE MACHINE…J.P. Crawford leads the Mariners with 22 walks this season…Crawford has walked in 18.3% of his plate appearances, 5th-highest walk rate among qualified batters in the Majors, ranking 2nd in the American League to Gunnar Henderson-BAL (21.0%)…Crawford has drawn a walk in 20 of his 32 games this season.

TEO TEO…Teoscar Hernández went 2-for-4 with a run scored last night…over his last 5 games (4/30-c), the outfielder is batting .300 (6×20) with 5 runs, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 1 RBI and 1 walk, slugging .550 with a .914 OPS.

AS YOU MAY KNOW…Julio Rodríguez played in his 162nd career Major League game last night… through 162 career games, the 22-year-old outfielder is batting .270 (172×636) with 103 runs, 31 doubles, 4 triples, 33 home runs, 88 RBI, 31 stolen bases and 50 walks, getting on base at a .333 clip, slugging .487 with an .820 OPS and 310 total bases in 697 plate appearances, but…DID YOU KNOW?… that Julio is one of just 2 players all-time to accumulate at least 30 doubles, 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases through 162 career games?…Rodríguez and Angels outfielder Mike Trout-LAA (2011-12) are the only players in Major League history to reach 30 2B/30 HR/30 SB in their first 162 games…Julio is the only player in Major League history to reach 31 doubles, 33 homers and 31 steals in a player’s first 162 games, since Trout tallied exactly 30 doubles over his first 162 contests.

• 31-year-old left-hander is making his 6th start of the season, 1st against the Houston Astros…he is also making his 159th career appearance (151st career start) and his 14th career start (15th appearance) against Houston.

• Acquired by Seattle from St. Louis in exchange for minor league outfielder Tyler O’Neill on July 21, 2017.

• Native of Fort Collins, CO…attended Gonzaga University for 3 years (2011-13).

• Originally selected by Colorado in the 29th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, CO) but did not sign… drafted and signed by the Cardinals with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Gonzaga University…became the highest draft pick in the history of the Gonzaga baseball program.

• Made his MLB debut with Cardinals on June 25, 2014 at Colorado.

LAST TIME OUT…ND in last start on 4/30 at TOR…allowed 8 runs (5 ER) on 8 hits (1 HR) and 1 walk with 2 strikeouts over 3.0 innings.

SPRING FEVER…today marks Marco’s first start in the month of May this season…Marco recorded a quality start in 4 of 6 starts in May of 2022, while posting a 3.44 ERA (14 ER, 36.2 IP) during the month…overall, he has been historically good in May, posting a 3.76 ERA (40 ER, 95.2 IP) during the month, his 2nd-lowest ERA in any calendar month during his career, ranking behind only his 3.34 ERA during Sept./Oct.

SEASON-HIGH PUNCHIES…matched his career high in strikeouts with 9 on 4/19 against Milwaukee…it marks the 6th time he has achieved this feat, the last coming on 8/12/21 against the Texas Rangers when he pitched the third complete game of his career.

LET’S GET DEEP…The Mariners are 53-27 in starts when Gonzales goes 6.0 or more innings, compared to 24-42 when he tosses 5.2 innings or less over his career…when Gonzales tosses 7.0+ innings the Mariners are 25-9.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY…has pitched at least 5.0 innings 4-of-5 starts this season…in 2022 Gonzales had a streak of 20 consecutive games with at least 5.0 innings pitched from 6/15-10/5/22…this was the second longest streak among Mariners starters trailing only Logan Gilbert (22).

SEASON-LONG STAMINA…made 32 starts last season which was tied for 1st among Mariners pitchers with Logan Gilbert and Robbie Ray…his 183.0 innings pitched was 3rd on the team last year trailing only Ray (189.0) and Gilbert (185.2)…he also led Seattle’s starting pitchers in decisions earning 25 decisions out of his 32 starts in 2022.

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO…made his first career start against the Philadelphia Phillies on 4/25, the 28th different team he has faced in his career…the only teams he has not pitched against are St. Louis and Seattle, the two teams he has played for during his Major League career.

123 Auto Parts

Related Articles

2023 Major League Baseball Schedule Book

Latest Articles