Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (88-57) at Seattle Mariners (81-65)

LOS ANGELES DODGERS NOTES:

POSTSEASON BREWING: The Dodgers’ dropped the series finale to the Padres Wednesday night for their first regular season series loss since June 21-23, 2021, marking the end of the Dodgers’ 13-series win streak against the Friars. The Boys in Blue still take the season series against the San Diego 9-4. Despite the loss, the club is still inching closer to clinching its 25th NL West crown since moving to Los Angeles and could clinch the division as early as Saturday. Starting today, the Dodgers will face the Mariners for the first time since 2021, where the Dodgers’ took the season series 3-1. After the three-game road trip, the club returns to Chavez Ravine for their final homestand of the season, a seven-game affair featuring contests against the Detroit Tigers (Sept. 18-20) and San Francisco Giants (Sept. 21-24). The Dodgers hold a 13.0-game lead over Arizona in the National League West division. Los Angeles is 37-19 (.661) in the second half, which is tied with Baltimore for the best post All-Star break record in the Major Leagues.

MAGIC MEN: After the Dodgers’ loss last night, a Diamondbacks’ loss and some conferring with the statistical brethren, it has been determined that the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West division for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons remains at four. The Dodgers can clinch the division as early as Saturday in Seattle if they win their next two games and Arizona loses two of the next three. The 2022 Dodgers clinched the division on September 13 in Phoenix, the second earliest clinch by calendar date in club history, trailing only the 2019 squad’s September 10 clinch.

SLAMMED by DIEGO: The Boys in Blue lost a one-sided contest to the Padres Wednesday night, 6-1. Ryan Pepiot shoved 6.0 innings, giving up six hits and four runs while striking out five in the loss. All four of Pepiot’s runs came via the long ball, a two-strike solo shot in the first inning by Juan Soto and a two-strike three-run blast in the fourth inning by Luis Campusano. Mookie Betts and Miguel Rojas ended the night with base knocks before Kolten Wong prevented the club’s fourth shutout of the year with a homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Wong had two home runs in 216 plate appearances with the Mariners and has already matched that in 13 plate appearances as a Dodger.

BULLS IN THE PEN: Alex Vesia tossed a scoreless 1.1 innings of relief Wednesday night, striking three of the four batters he faced. The left-hander has nine scoreless outings in his last 10 appearances (2 ER vs. ATL on Sept.2) and posts a 2.25 ERA (2 ER/7.0 IP) in his last seven outings. Shelby Miller followed suit and struck out two of the three batters he faced. Since returning from the IL on August 31st, the veteran has been perfect in six appearances, tossing 6.0 innings, giving up two hits while striking out five. In his 31 games this season, Miller has 25 scoreless appearances.

THAT DUDE: Dodger All-Star Mookie Betts cracked his career high 39th home run Tuesday night, which ranks fourth in the National League. The leadoff blast was his 12th of the season, leaving him one shy of the all-time single season record for leadoff homers, currently held by Alfonso Soriano, who ripped 13 from the one-hole in 2003. Betts’ 39 homers from the leadoff spot are tied with Soriano (2006) and George Springer (2019) for the most in a single season. In addition, his 103 RBI batting first are tied with Charlie Blackmon (2017) for the most in a single season. Betts now has 48 career leadoff homers, which are tied with Ian Kinsler for fifth all-time, five behind Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

DANCING WITH FREDDIE: Dodger first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-3 with one strikeout Wednesday night. He is now five doubles away from becoming the first player with 60+ doubles since Charlie Gehringer (60) and Joe Medwick (64) in 1936. The All-Star ranks second in the Majors with a career-high 121 runs and trails only Ronald Acuña Jr. (133). He is second in the Majors with 194 hits and leads the big leagues with 83 extra-base hits, while his .337 average ranks third. He is just six hits away from reaching 200 knocks for the first time in his career and the California native is closing in on uncharted territory as he is tied for 21st all-time with 55 doubles in a season:

TONIGHT’S STARTER at MARINERS: RHP BOBBY MILLER (9-3, 3.98 ERA in 18 GS)

2023 SEASON NOTES:

  • In his last start on September 9 against the Nationals, he spun 7.0 innings, giving up six hits, five runs, two walks and one home run while punching out a season-high eight batters in the no decision…has six consecutive starts of six or more innings Had the longest scoreless innings streak for the club this season with 20 consecutive innings (May 29-June 17)…it was snapped on the 17th against the Giants Became the first Dodger pitcher since at least 1901 with a 6.0+ IP scoreless start allowing one hit or fewer within his first three appearances (ESPN Stats) First Dodgers rookie starting pitcher to earn the win in his first two career starts since Jose De Leon (9/04/16 vs. SD and 9/12/16 at NYY) Illinois native picked up the win in his Major League debut against Atlanta May 23 after spinning five innings and giving up four hits, one run and one walk while striking out five Owns a 1-1 record across four starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City with a 5.65 ERA (9 ER/14.1 IP) with 12 strikeouts and just 6 issued walks…has limited the opposition to a .212/.295/.385 slashline

VS. MARINERS:

  • Will face Seattle for the first time in his career

SEATTLE MARINERS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue a 7-day, 6-game homestand (2-1) with the 1st of 3 games against the Los Angeles Dodgers…Seattle opened the homestand with a series win over the Los Angeles Angels (2-1)…following Sunday’s series finale vs. the Dodgers, the Mariners will embark on their final road trip of the season to Oakland (3 G, Sept. 18-20) and Texas (3 G, Sept. 22-24)…tonight’s game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS with Dave Sims and Mike Blowers on the call…the game will also be broadcast live on Seattle Sports (710 AM) and Mariners.com with Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmtih on the call.

ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners defeated the Angels by a 3-2 score in Wednesday’s rubber match, securing their first series win in the month of September…the Mariners are 18-10 over their last 28 games, 26-13 over their last 39, 28-14 over their last 42, 31-15 over their last 46, 34-17 over their last 51 and 43- 23 over their last 66 games…the Mariners are 62-24 when scoring at least 4 runs and 19-41 when scoring 3-or-fewer…the Mariners are 41-30 at T-Mobile Park and 40-35 on the road this season…they are 27-25 in day games and 54-40 at night. Déjà Vu All Over Again – The Mariners were also 81-65 after 146 games during the 2022 season. Interleague Play – This weekend’s series vs. the Dodgers is the final interleague series of the 2023 regular season for Seattle…the Mariners are 22-21 (.512) in interleague games this season. Long Division – Of Seattle’s 16 remaining regular season games, 13 are against AL West Division opponents (OAK 3, TEX 7, HOU 3). Clemente Award Nominee – Marco Gonzales was named today as the Seattle Mariners nominee for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award…it’s Gonzales’ 2nd-consecutive year being nominated for the award, which is presented annually in recognition of a Major League player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.

TEOSCAR HERNÁNDEZ EXTENDS ON-BASE STREAK TO 28…Teoscar Hernández went 1-for-4 with 1 RBI in Wednesday’s game vs. the Angels, extending his on-base streak to 28 games (8/15-c), longest active on-base streak (via H, BB or HBP) in the Majors and the longest streak by a Mariners player this season, surpassing Julio Rodríguez (27 G, July 1-Aug. 2)…Teo’s 28-game on-base streak is Seattle’s longest on-base streak since Robinson Canó’s 34-game on-base streak from April 30-June 5, 2016…
Hernández during his streak is batting .368 (42×114) with 16 runs, 8 doubles, 8 home runs, 28 RBI and 6 walks, getting on base at a .400 clip, slugging .649 with a 1.049 OPS.

ZONING OUT…George Kirby enters his start today with a 9.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio, leading the Majors ahead of Zach Eflin-TB (7.13), Logan Webb (6.10) and Logan Gilbert (5.68)…Kirby’s 9.44 SO/BB ratio is on pace to be the best by any pitcher in Mariners history and 4th-best in Major League history (1900-c), trailing only Phil Hughes-2014 (11.63), Cliff Lee-2010 (10.28) and Curt Schilling-2002 (9.58).

MASS QUANTITIES OF QUALITY…Luis Castillo recorded his 17th quality start of the season in Wednesday’s game, joining George Kirby and Logan Gilbert with 17 quality starts apiece this season… Seattle is the only team in MLB this season to have 3+ pitchers with 15+ quality starts…Castillo, Gilbert and Kirby are just the 7th trio of starters in Mariners history to each record 17+ quality starts in a season… they are the first since Félix Hernández (22 QS), Michael Pineda (19 QS) and Jason Vargas (18 QS) in 2011.

WELCOME TO THE J-ROD SHOW…Julio Rodríguez went 1-for-3 with 1 run, 1 double, 1 RBI and 1 walk (IBB) in Wednesday’s game…Julio has hit safely in 6 consecutive games, batting .480 (12×25) with 8 runs, 2 doubles, 3 home runs, 6 RBI and 1 walk, while reaching base at a .500 clip and slugging .920 with a 1.420 OPS…overall this season, Julio leads the American League in hits (171), ranking ahead of Marcus Semien-TEX (169)…Julio ranks 2nd in the AL in total bases (299) behind Shohei Ohtani-LAA (325), 3rd in RBI (99), 4th in extra-base hits (66), 7th in home runs (30), T-4th in runs (94) and 3rd in stolen bases (36).

  • 30/30 Club – Julio (30 HR, 36 SB) is the 4th player age 22-or-younger with 30+ home runs and 30+ stolen bases in a season, joining Alex Rodriguez-SEA (1998), Mike Trout-LAA (2012) & Ronald Acuña Jr.-ATL (2019)…Julio, who wears #44, is the 44th individual to join the 30/30 club in MLB history.
  • Keeping It 100 – Rodríguez is 1 RBI away from a 100-RBI season…Julio would join Alex RodriguezSEA (1998) & Ronald Acuña Jr.-ATL (2019) to become just the 3rd player age 22-or-younger with a 30/30 season and 100 RBI in the same year…Julio would join Ken Griffey Jr. (2x, 1991-92) and A-Rod (2x, 1996, ’98) as the only Mariners with 100+ RBI in age 22-or-younger seasons.

PITCH PERFECT…the Mariners pitching staff leads the Majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.59) and walksper-9 innings (2.54), ranking T-1st in ERA (3.71) with Toronto, 2nd in fewest runs allowed (594), 2nd in fWAR (20.0), 2nd in WHIP (1.18), T-1st in FIP (3.80), 2nd in quality starts (69), 5th in opponent batting average (.236) and 7th in strikeouts-per-9 innings (9.11).

CAREER YEAR FOR CRAWFORD…J.P. Crawford went 1-for-4 in Wednesday’s game and remains 1 RBI shy of his career-high 54 RBI registered during the 2021 season…the Mariners shortstop this year has already tallied career-highs in home runs (15) and walks (83) and is on pace to set career-highs in on-base percentage (.377), slugging (.422) and OPS (.799).

THE SEATTLE DOZEN…the Mariners have 12 players with 50+ plate appearances and a wRC+ of at least 100 this season, most in the Majors: Tom Murphy (139 wRC+), Julio Rodríguez (135), J.P. Crawford (129), Mike Ford (122), Cal Raleigh (116), Josh Rojas (116), Dylan Moore (115), Cade Marlowe (111), Teoscar Hernández (111), Jarred Kelenic (108), Ty France (103) and Eugenio Suárez (102).

I’VE GOT THE POWER…the Mariners have hit 84 home runs in 49 games as a team since July 22, most home runs in the American League during that span, ranking ahead of Houston (80) and 3rd-most in the Majors behind Atlanta (98) and Philadelphia (86)…Julio Rodríguez leads the AL with 17 homers in that span and Cal Raleigh ranks tied for 2nd in the AL with 16 homers (also: Corey Seager-TEX, 16 HR).

AS YOU KNOW…Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh has 16 home runs over his last 47 games (7/22-c), leading Major League catchers with 28 home runs overall this season, and…AS YOU MAY KNOW…with 2 more homers, #29 would become the 29th catcher in MLB history (min. 60% of games at catcher) with 30+ home run season, but…DID YOU KNOW?…Cal already has 57 career home runs in 296 games, ranking 7th-most in MLB history by a catcher over their first 300 games (min. 60% games as catcher)?… he trails only Gary Sánchez (86 HR), Rudy York (77 HR), Mike Piazza (68 HR), Will Smith (62 HR), Earl Williams (60 HR) and Wilin Rosario (59 HR).

MARINERS STARTER – RHP GEORGE KIRBY
2023 MLB Breakdown:
W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO HR
Overall 10-9 3.48 27/27 165.2 158 67 64 16 151 19
Home 6-3 2.87 12/12 75.1 60 25 24 7 78 8
Road 4-6 3.99 15/15 90.1 98 42 40 9 73 11
vs. LAD 0-0 0.00 0/0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Career MLB Breakdown:
W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO HR
Overall 18-14 3.44 52/52 295.2 293 121 113 38 284 32
Home 9-6 3.07 25/25 146.2 137 54 50 17 155 17
Road 9-8 3.81 27/27 149.0 156 67 63 21 129 15
vs. LAD 0-0 0.00 0/0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0

ABOUT KIRBY…

  • 25-year-old right-hander is making his 28th start of the season, 1st against Los Angeles-NL…he is also making his 53rd career start, and 1st career start against the Dodgers. Selected by the Mariners in the first round (20th overall) of the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft; signed by Mariners scout by Holub. Played 3 seasons (2017-2019) at Elon University (NC), going 19-8 with a 3.30 ERA (88 ER, 240.0 IP) in 45 games (34 GS) with the Phoenix. Became the first rookie in MLB history to record a save in the postseason in his first career relief appearance. Graduated from Rye HS (Rye, NY) where he was named to the all-metro, all-state, all-section and all-league baseball teams 3 times.

LAST TIME OUT…ND in last start on 9/8 at TBR…pitched 6.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits (1 HR) with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.

NATIONAL PHENOMENON…in 11 career interleague appearances, Kirby has a 3.65 ERA (25 ER, 61.1 IP) with 57 strikeouts and just 4 walks…he owns a 8.3 strikeouts-per-nine and a 14.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio…this will be his 8th start against a National League opponent this season.

THESE BOOTS WERE NOT MADE FOR WALKING…leads all qualified pitchers in the Majors with a 9.44 strikeouts-to-walk ratio, ranking ahead of Zach Eflin-TBR (7.13)…his 9.44 SO/BB ratio currently ranks as the 3rd best in a single season in American League history among qualified starting pitchers.

NIFTY FIFTY…through his first 50 career starts Kirby recorded 275 strikeouts and 36 walks…his 7.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio is highest in Major League history through a pitcher’s first 50 career starts…Kirby ranks ahead of Shane Bieber (6.00), Corbin Burnes (5.81) and Masahiro Tanaka (5.73).

NO WALKS ALLOWED…saw his 5-game streak of not giving up a walk come to an end in his last start against Tampa Bay…this was a new career-high for consecutive games without giving up a walk…Kirby has only allowed 16 walks all season.

CAREER-HIGH INNINGS…threw 9.0 innings and allowed only 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks and struck out 7 over 103 pitches in his start against BAL on 8/12…his 9.0 IP is a new career high (previously: 8.0, 2x, last: 5/31/23 vs. NYY)…the last time a Mariners pitcher tossed 9.0+ innings in a team loss was Félix Hernández on 7/26/13 vs. Minnesota.

NO FREE PASSES…has the fewest walks allowed through the first 27 starts in a season in franchise history with 16…he currently ranks ahead of Hisashi Iwakuma who allowed 21 walks through 27 starts in 2014.

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