Thursday, June 13, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates (25-24) at Seattle Mariners (26-24)

PITTSBURGH PIRATES NOTES:

THE PIRATES: Had the day off yesterday in Seattle…Went 2-4 on their six-game homestand against Arizona (1-2) and Texas (1-2)…Won seven straight games from 4/17-23, their longest winning streak since 2018 (11 games)…Are 1.5 games behind the front-running Brewers in the National League Central coming into today.

THE MATURATION OF MITCH: One year ago yesterday Mitch Keller made the second of his two relief appearances of both 2022 and of his career before rejoining the starting rotation for good on May 31…Since May 31, Keller has produced the fifth-lowest ERA (2.95) in the National League (12th-lowest in all of MLB)…Keller’s 183 strikeouts since May 31 of last season are also the 11th-most among all National League pitchers.

MITCH’S MERRY MONTH OF MAY: Mitch Keller brings a 2-1 record and 1.00 ERA (27.0ip/3er) in four starts this month into his outing tonight…The only two pitchers in MLB with a lower ERA this month are San Diego’s Michael Wacha (0.36) and Toronto’s Chris Bassitt (0.61).

ON THE ROAD: Tonight will be Mitch Keller’s first start on the road since tossing 7.0 scoreless innings while striking out a career-high 13 batters on May 14 at Baltimore…Keller became the first Pirates righthander to strike out at least 13 batters in a game since Jose DeLeon had a club-record tying 14 on April 16, 1985, vs. the New York Mets…He also became the first Pirates pitcher in team history to have a start of at least 7.0 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and no walks according to Baseball Reference.

SEATTLE’S BEST: This season the city of Seattle will host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game for the third time…Dave Parker represented the Pirates at the All-Star Game in 1979 at the Kingdome while taking home MVP honors…In 2001, Brian Giles was Pittsburgh’s All-Star representative when the game was held at Safeco Field…This year’s game will take place on July 11 here at T-Mobile Park.

CLOSING IN ON ANOTHER MILESTONE: Andrew McCutchen is two doubles shy of 400 in his career and two away from 300 as a Pirate…McCutchen ranks seventh all-time in team history in doubles…Paul Waner ranks first with 559, followed by Honus Wagner (556), Roberto Clemente (440), Willie Stargell (423), Max Carey (375) and Pie Traynor (371).

GO WEST YOUNG BUCS: This is the first of three trips to the west coast this season for the Pirates…In addition to this trip to Seattle and San Francisco, the Pirates will also have a seven-game road trip leading up to the All-Star break at Dodger Stadium and Arizona from July 3-9…The team will also return to the west coast from July 21-26 for a six-game road trip against the Padres and Angels.

SETTING UP THE SERIES: This is Pittsburgh’s fourth series ever in Seattle and the first since 2016 (the Pirates also visited the Emerald City in 2007 and 2013)…The Pirates are 4-3 all-time at T-Mobile Park…This is also the first time these two teams have met overall since a three-game series at PNC Park from September 17-19, 2019.

MAKE THAT A DOUBLE: Carlos Santana returns to Seattle for the first time since helping the Mariners advance to the American League Division Series in 2022…Santana went deep nine times in 47 games here at T-Mobile Park in 2022…He also comes into today two doubles shy of 350 in his career (he would become the 21st Dominican-born player with 350 career doubles).

THE HOT CORNER: Ke’Bryan Hayes comes into today leading all third basemen in MLB with nine Defensive Runs Saved according to FanGraphs (the next closest player is Toronto’s Matt Chapman with five)…Hayes and Mariners third basemen Eugenio Suarez are also the only third basemen in all of MLB with six Outs Above Average according to FanGraphs… Hayes and Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox each have nine Defensive Runs Saved regardless of position according to FanGraphs…The only player in all of MLB with more is Toronto’s Kevin Kiermaier (10).

STARTING PITCHER – 23 – RHP MITCH KELLER
MITCH KELLER: The 27-year-old righthander will make his 11th start of the season tonight…He was in line for the win (6.0ip/2er) in his last start but had a no-decision in the team’s 4-3 loss Saturday afternoon vs. Arizona.

VS. SEATTLE: 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in one career start…Gave up two runs in 5.0 innings while losing a 6-0 decision to Marco Gonzales on 9/17/19 at PNC Park.

SEATTLE MARINERS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue a 10-game homestand (4-0) with the first of 3 games against the Pittsburgh Pirates…Seattle opened the homestand with a 4-game series sweep of the Oakland Athletics (4-0) and will also host the New York Yankees (3 G, May 29-31) following the current series vs. Pittsburgh… tonight’s game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS with Aaron Goldsmith and Ryan Rowland-Smith on the call…the game will also be broadcast live on Seattle Sports (710 AM) and Mariners.com with Rick Rizzs and Gary Hill Jr.

ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners defeated the Athletics by a 3-2 score last night to secure their 3rd series sweep of the season…the Mariners are 5-1 over their last 6 games and are 14-8 in May, tied for the 3rdbest record in the AL this month (also: Baltimore), trailing Texas (14-7) and New York-AL (15-8)…Seattle is 19-8 when scoring at least 4 runs and 7-16 when scoring 3-or-fewer.

  • Four Score – The Mariners have won 4 games in a row (May 22-c), tying their longest winning streak of the season (done 3x)…during the current 4-game winning streak, Seattle has outscored opponents 23-7, averaging 5.75 runs/game offensively and allowing only 1.75 runs/game.
  • High Water Mark – The Mariners enter tonight’s action with a 26-24 record, 2 games above .500 for the first time this season.
  • WARiors – George Kirby (T7th, 1.9), Logan Gilbert (12th, 1.7), Luis Castillo (T13th, 1.6) and Bryce Miller (T17th, 1.4) all rank in the top 20 of MLB pitchers this season in Fangraphs WAR…the Mariners are the only team in the Majors to have more than 2 pitchers rank among the top 20 in fWAR this season.

YO-HO-YO-HO…the Mariners welcome the Pirates to T-Mobile Park for only the 4th all-time series in Seattle between the clubs: June 19-21, 2007 (3 G), June 25-26, 2013 (2 G) and June 28-29, 2016 (2 G)… Seattle and Pittsburgh have met for 7 series overall, with the first ever series taking place from June 18-20, 2004 in Pittsburgh…the Mariners are 3-4 against the Pirates all-time at T-Mobile Park and 11-6 overall… Seattle swept the Pirates in a 3-game series in Pittsburgh in the last series between the clubs from Sept. 17-19, 2019.

3-PEAT…the Mariners have limited opponents to 3 runs or less in 6 consecutive games dating back to May 20…during that span, the Seattle staff is 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA (13 ER, 53.0 IP) with 7 walks and 57 strikeouts with a 0.79 WHIP…the Mariners 6-game streak allowing 3 runs or fewer is the longest active streak in the Majors and tied for 4th-longest in the Majors this season behind Chicago-AL (9 G, May 15- 24), Toronto (8 G, April 21-29) and Pittsburgh (7 G, April 17-23).

ACE OF STAFFS…the Mariners have the best pitching staff in the Major Leagues by fWAR (10.2), ranking ahead of Minnesota (8.5)…Seattle also leads the Majors in WHIP (1.15), Fielding Independent Pitching (3.19), fewest walks (123), walks-per-9 innings (2.47), fewest home runs (34), home runs-per-9 innings (0.68), fewest barrels (78), barrel per plate appearance (4.2%), soft-contact percentage (19.0), swing percentage (49.5) and zone percentage (44.4) among other categories…Mariners starting pitchers are tied for 1st in the Majors in fWAR (7.0) with Minnesota…Mariners relief pitchers rank 2nd in the Majors in fWAR (3.2) trailing Baltimore (3.4).

DEUX POUR TY…Ty France went 2-for-4 with 3 runs, 2 home runs, and 2 RBI in last night’s game, recording his first multi-home run game with Seattle, 2nd of his career (also: Sept. 1, 2019 at San Francisco with San Diego)…during the month of May, Ty has reached base safely in 19 of 21 games, including 17 games with at least 1 hit and 7 multi-hit games…in the the month, he is batting .291 (25×86) with 13 runs scored, 4 doubles, 4 home runs, 8 RBI, 5 walks and 3 hit-by-pitches, while reaching base at a .351 clip and slugging .477 with a .828 OPS).

THE J-ROD SHOW…Julio Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with 1 double in last night’s game…he has hit safely in 4 consecutive games (5/22-c), including 3 multi-hit games during that span, batting .471 (8×17) with 3 runs scored, 3 doubles, 2 RBI and 1 hit-by-pitch while reaching base at a .500 clip and slugging .647 with a 1.147 OPS…dating back to the beginning of the 2022 season, Julio has recorded 53 multi-hit games, 2nd-most among all Mariners behind only Ty France (54) during that span.

JARRED IS SHINING ON THE DIAMOND…Jarred Kelenic has been one of the top outfielders in the American League this season…overall, Kelenic is batting .284 (50×176) with 25 runs, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 10 home runs, 25 RBI, 6 stolen bases and 14 walks in 48 games, while getting on base at a .339 clip, slugging .534 with an .873 OPS…he has tallied 1.4 fWAR, and 1.6 Baseball Reference WAR…the 23-yearold outfielder leads the ariners in total bases (94), extra-base hits (23), hits, home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS…among qualified AL outfielders, his 143 wRC+ ranks 6th, trailing Aaron Judge-NYY (178), Yordan Alvarez-HOU (175), Randy Arozarena-TB (172), Brent Rooker-OAK (154) and Mike Trout-LAA (144).

GLOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD…the Mariners defense is the best in the American League by Outs Above Average (13) this season, and tied for 2nd in the Majors (also: Milwaukee), trailing only San Diego (19)… they have had the 3rd best outfield (5 OAA) and are tied for the 8th-best infield defense (6 OAA)…Eugenio Suárez is the top-rated third baseman in the AL by OAA (6) and is tied for 3rd among all positions…Julio Rodríguez is tied for 4th among AL center fielders with 4 OAA…Seattle’s .991 team fielding percentage is tied for the MLB lead with Tampa Bay and New York-NL (.991), while Seattle’s 11 Defensive Runs Saved ranks 6th in the Majors.

HOME SWEET HOMESTAND…the Mariners continue a 10-game homestand (4-0) tonight with SingAlong Fireworks Night, the first fireworks night of the summer…Seattle will also hold J.P. Crawford POP! Collectible Night on Saturday, May 27 and Little League Day on Sunday, May 28…the Mariners wrap up the homestand with 3 games against the New York Yankees from May 29-31…tickets for all upcoming games can be found at Mariners.com/Tickets.

AS YOU MAY KNOW…George Kirby has recorded a quality start in each of his last 8 outings dating back to his 2nd start of the year on April 9 at Cleveland…during the 8-game streak, George is 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA (13 ER, 54.0 IP) with 4 walks and 42 strikeouts, and…DID YOU KNOW?…Kirby has pitched into the 7th inning each of his last 5 quality starts (4/27-c)?…Kirby’s streak of 8 consecutive quality starts is longest in the Majors this season and his streak of 5 consecutive quality starts of 6.1+ innings is tied for longest in the Majors this season (also: Nathan Eovaldi-TEX)…overall, Kirby has made 4 starts of 7.0+ innings, tied for 5th-most in the Majors

MARINERS STARTER – RHP GEORGE KIRBY
ABOUT KIRBY…

  • 25-year-old right-hander is making his 10th start of the season, 1st against Pittsburgh…he is also making his 35th career start, and 1st career start against the Pirates.
  • Selected by the Mariners in the first round (20th overall) of the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft; signed by Mariners scout Ty 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…L#3 on 5/21 against Atlanta after turning in a quality start where he allowed 3 runs on 6 hits (1 home run) and 1 walk while striking out 6 over 7.0 innings of work.

CAREER-HIGH STRIKEOUTS…matched his career-high in strikeouts at 9 on 5/9 against Texas…this marked the 4th time George has struck out 9 batters in a game (last: 8/24/22 vs. WSN).

THESE BOOTS WERE NOT MADE FOR WALKING…in 9 starts this season Kirby has only allowed 5 walks while striking out 47…his 9.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks 1st in the Major Leagues among starting pitchers with at least 9 starts this season…he ranks ahead of Zach Eflin-TBR (7.43).

QUALITY KIRBY…has pitched 8 consecutive quality starts, his longest quality start streak in his career…his previous high in consecutvie quality starts was 2 (last: 9/10-9/17/22)…his 8-game quality start streak is the longest streak in the Majors this season…his 8 quality starts this season are tied for the 2nd most in the Majors and trails only Marcus Stroman-CHC (9).

HOME SWEET HOME…is set to make his 18th career start at T-Mobile Park… when pitching at home Kirby is 6-4 with a 3.22 ERA (34 ER, 95.0 IP) with 11 walks and 99 strikeouts…his 9.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio at T-Mobile Park is the highest in franchise history among pitchers who have made at least 10 starts… he ranks ahead of Luis Castillo (7.15) and Logan Gilbert (6.48).

MARVELOUS MONTH OF MAY…in 9 career starts in the month of May Kirby has a 4-2 record with a 2.85 ERA (17 ER, 43.2 IP) and has allowed 6 walks while striking out 51…his 51 strikeouts is the most in any month that he has pitched.

TRIPLE SEVENS…pitched at least 7.0 innings in 3 consecutive starts (4/27-5/9)…this marks a career high in consecutive games with at least 7.0 innings pitched…before then Kirby had never pitched 7.0+ innings in consecutive games…during those 3 games Kirby was 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA (4 ER, 22.0 IP) and had allowed 2 walks while striking out 18.

KIRBY’S COMPLETE…pitched his first career complete game on 4/27 against Philadelphia…he became the first Mariners pitcher to lose a complete game since Taijuan Walker on Sept. 24, 2014 in a 1-0 loss at Toronto.

MAKING MARINERS HISTORY…his 12.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in March/April was the best to start a season in Mariners history among starting pitchers with at least 2 starts…he ranks ahead of Taijuan Walker who had an 8.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2016.

MISSION CRITICAL…the Mariners own a 14-5 record in games that Kirby tosses at least 6.0 innings…in games Kirby goes 5.2 innings or less, the Mariners are just 8-7.

PLAYOFF KIRB…made two appearances in the postseason…earned the save in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series at Toronto, his first professional save…also started in Game 3 of the AL Division Series vs. Houston, tossing 7.0 scoreless innings with 5 strikeouts…became just the 2nd player in franchise history to throw at least 7.0 shutout innings in the postseason, joining Luis Castillo (10/7 at TOR, G1 ALWCS).

AUGUST ROOKIE OF THE MONTH…was named Rookie of the Month for August 2022, after going 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA (7 ER, 29.1 IP) with 34 strikeouts and 3 walks in 5 August starts…he led AL rookies in fWAR (1.4), ERA, wins, WHIP (1.13) and SO/BB ratio (11.33)…becomes just the 3rd Mariners pitcher to win Rookie of the Month joining Michael Pineda (April 2011) and Rafael Soriano (Aug. 2003), and the 2nd Mariner to win the award in 2022 (also: Julio Rodríguez, May and June).

GOING ON STRIKE…began his outing on 8/24/22 vs. Washington by throwing 24-consecutive strikes, the most to start a game since the pitch
tracking era (1988-current), passing the 21 thrown by Joe Musgrove on 8/30/18 vs. STL with PIT.

WALK LESS, LISTEN MORE…did not allow more than 1 walk in each of his first 22 career starts, the longest streak to begin a career in MLB history…it was the 2nd-longest streak to begin a season in MLB history trailing the 27 done by Carlos Silva-MIN in 2005.

NO DINGERS HERE…did not allowed a home run in 14-consecutive starts from 7/2-9/28/22, which was the longest streak in the Majors in 2022…the 14-start streak without allowing a home run was a franchise record passing Erik Hanson (12, 9/20/89-5/23/90)…he went 75.0 innings without allowing a long ball.

A HISTORIC SEASON…his 6.05 strikeout to walk ratio is the highest in a rookie season in MLB history since the start of the Modern Era (1900-c.), ranking ahead of Chris Paddack-SD (4.94) in 2014 (min. 25 GS).

MARINERS ROOKIES…among Mariners rookie pitchers who have made at least 15 starts as a rookie, he ranks among the leaders in ERA (5th, 3.39),
SO/9 (2nd, 9.2), SO (5th, 133), WHIP (4th, 1.208) and SO/BB (1st, 6.05).

BY GEORGE!…his 7.79 SO/BB ratio through his first 20 starts is the highest mark in MLB history, ranking ahead of Roy Oswalt-HOU (7.65 in 2001) (excludes openers).

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