Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Seattle Mariners (20-20) at Boston Red Sox (22-19)


TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue an 11-day, 9-game road trip (2-1) with the first of 3 games against the Boston Red Sox…Seattle opened the trip with a 3-game series win in Detroit (2-1) and will also visit the Atlanta Braves (3 G, May 19-21) before heading home to Seattle…tonight’s game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS with Aaron Goldsmith and Mariners Hall of Famer Dan Wilson on the call and broadcast live on Seattle Sports (710 AM) and with Rick Rizzs and Dave Sims.

ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners fell to the Tigers by a score of 5-3 yesterday, but still won the series 2-1…despite yesterday’s loss, the Mariners are 9-4 over their last 13 games…Seattle is 10-12 at T-Mobile Park and 10-8 on the road this season…the Mariners are 6-1 over their last 7 road games (4/30-c).

  • Fun at Fenway – 6 Mariners batters have a career OPS of .900 or better at Fenway Park: Sam Haggerty (1.405 OPS, 14 PA), Kolten Wong (1.067 OPS, 20 PA), Eugenio Suárez (1.000 OPS, 17 PA), Teoscar Hernandez (.955 OPS, 176 PA), Julio Rodríguez (.941 OPS, 17 PA) and Ty France (.921 OPS, 37 PA).
  • Sox It To ‘Em – Teoscar Hernández ranks 3rd among active players with 22 career home runs against the Red Sox, trailing only Evan Longoria (31) and Nelson Cruz (26).
  • Woo! – Mariners minor leaguer Bryan Woo was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for May 8-14…Woo made 1 start during the week, carrying a perfect game into the 7th inning…he tossed a career-high 7.0 scoreless innings, while allowing only 2 hits with 7 strikeouts…over 6 starts this season, Woo is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA (6 ER, 28.0 IP) with 6 walks, 39 strikeouts and a .146 opp. average.

KING GEORGE…George Kirby has tossed 6 consecutive quality starts dating back to his second outing of the season on April 9…during the current 6-game stretch (4/9-c), he is 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA (9 ER, 40.1 IP) with 2 walks and 30 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .210 batting average against…Kirby’s 6-game quality start streak is tied for 2nd-longest in the Majors this season (also: Joe Ryan-MIN), trailing only Framber Valdez-HOU (7 QS)…over his last 3 starts, Kirby has tossed at least 7.0 IP while allowing 3 runs or less, tied for the longest streak of 7.0-inning quality starts in the Majors this season (also: Logan Webb-SF & Nathan Eovaldi-TEX).

HE’S IN THE ZONE…George Kirby has walked only 3 batters over his first 7 starts, spanning 44.2 IP…his 3 walks are fewest in the Majors among all starting pitchers with at least 30.0 IP…Kirby also leads qualified pitchers in walks-per-nine ratio (0.60 BB/9) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.67 SO/BB)…Kirby ranks 5th in the Majors with a 70.9% first pitch strike rate and leads the Majors with 60.1% of his pitches in the strike zone…despite throwing so many pitches in the zone, Kirby also leads the Mariners and ranks 10th in MLB with a 34.6% swing rate of his pitches thrown outside of the strike zone.

TY EXTENDS HITTING STREAK TO ELEVEN…Ty France went 1-for-5 with 1 run scored yesterday, extending his hitting streak to 11 games (5/3-c)…he is batting .375 (16×45) with 6 runs, 1 double, 1 home run and 4 RBI during the streak, getting on base at a .408 clip and slugging .444 with an .853 OPS since May 3…the Mariners first baseman has 4 multi-hit games in that span…France and Nathaniel Lowe-TEX are the only players with multiple 10+ game hitting streaks this season…France also hit safely in 11 consecutive games from April 2-14…Lowe has put together his hitting streaks from April 4-16 (11 G) and April 30-c (12+ G)…the current 11-game streak by France is tied for 4th-longest active streak in the Majors.

STARTING TO ROLL…dating back to April 30, the Mariners are 9-4 (.692), tied for 2nd-best winning percentage in the Majors during that span (also: Colorado & Texas), trailing only the Dodgers (11-2, .846)… since April 30, Seattle has outscored opponents 64-39, averaging 4.92 runs/game on offense and limiting opponents to 3.00 runs/game…the Mariners have scored 4+ runs in 8 of 13 games during that stretch (4/30-c), including 7 games scoring 5+ runs…overall this season, the Mariners are 15-7 when scoring 4+ runs and 5-13 when scoring 3-runs-or-less.

TEO KNOWS…Teoscar Hernández went 1-for-4 with 1 RBI in yesterday’s game, and has now reached base safely in 10 of his last 11 games (5/3-c), including 9 games with at least 1 hit during that span…since May 3, Teo is batting .302 (13×43) with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 3 walks and 1 stolen base, while reaching base at a .340 clip and slugging .419 with a .759 OPS in 11 games…during the 11- game stretch, he has reached base multiple times in 5 games, including 3 multi-hit games.

BEST PITCHING IN THE MAJORS…the Mariners have the best pitching staff in the Major Leagues by fWAR (8.6), ranking ahead of 2nd-place Minnesota (6.7) by a wide margin…Seattle pitchers also lead the Majors in Fielding Independent Pitching (3.22), soft-contact percentage (19.5), swing percentage (49.3), zone percentage (44.4), fewest barrels (55) and barrel rate (5.5%)…they rank 2nd in WHIP (1.15) behind Minnesota (1.14) and 3rd in ERA (3.30) to Tampa Bay (3.26) and Minnesota (3.29)…Mariners starting pitchers lead the Majors in fWAR (5.9) ahead of Minnesota (5.8)…Mariners relief pitchers also lead the Majors in fWAR (2.7) ahead of Baltimore (2.6)…Seattle’s pitching staff leads the Majors in ERA (2.58) during the month of May ahead of San Diego (2.61) and Los Angeles-NL (2.61).

J.K. ROLLING…in 38 games this season, Jarred Kelenic is batting .287 (39×136) with 16 runs, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 8 homers, 20 RBI, 5 stolen bases and 10 walks, getting on base at a .338 clip, slugging .559 with a .897 OPS…the 23-year-old outfielder leads the Mariners in total bases (76), extra-base hits (20), doubles, batting average, slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+ (150), and is tied for the team lead in home runs with Teoscar Hernández…Jarred has hit safely in 10 of 11 starts during the month of May.

GETTING DEFENSIVE…the Mariners are tied for the American League lead in fielding percentage (.990), committing just 14 errors in 1,453 total chances…Seattle ranks tied Tampa Bay (.990) and ahead of Houston (.989) and Kansas City (.989) in the American League, trailing only San Diego (.993), Arizona (.991) and New York-NL (.991) for the Major League lead…Seattle’s 12 Defensive Runs Saved are tied for 5th-most in the Majors, while their 12 Outs Above Average (OAA) are tied for 3rd-most in the Majors, trailing only San Diego (14) and Milwaukee (13)…Eugenio Suárez ranks tied for 3rd in the Majors with 6 OAA this season, while Julio Rodríguez ranks tied for 10th with 4 OAA.

AS YOU KNOW…George Kirby is 4-2 with a 2.62 ERA (13 ER, 44.2 IP) with 3 walks and 35 strikeouts over his first 7 starts this season, but…DID YOU KNOW?…Kirby’s 2.62 ERA is the lowest by any Mariners starter age 25-or-younger through their first 7 starts of a season (min. 40 IP) since Félix Hernández in his first 7 starts of his debut season in 2005 (1.59 ERA, 51.0 IP)?…overall, George’s 2.62 ERA through his first 7 starts is 5th-best in club history among pitchers who also covered at least 40.0 IP, trailing only Félix Hernández (1.59, 2005), Bob Stoddard (2.11, 1982), Erik Hanson (2.15, 1989) and Floyd Bannister (2.17, 1980).

Overall 4-2 2.62 7/7 44.2 40 13 13 3 35 2
Home 3-1 3.04 4/4 23.2 24 8 8 1 22 1
Road 1-1 2.14 3/3 21.0 16 5 5 2 13 1
vs. BOS 0-0 0.00 0/0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0


  • 25-year-old right-hander is making his 8th start of the season, 1st against Boston…he is also making his 33rd career start, and 3rd career start against the Red Sox.
  • 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…W#4 on 5/9 against Texas after turning in a quality start where
he only allowed 6 hits while striking out 9 over 7.0 innings of work.

CAREER-HIGH STRIKEOUTS…matched his career-high in strikeouts at 9 in his last outing 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 7 starts this season Kirby has only allowed 3 walks while striking out 35…his 11.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks 2nd in the Major Leagues among starting pitchers this season… he trails only teammate Bryce Miller (18.00) and ranks ahead of Taj Bradley-TBR (11.50).

QUALITY KIRBY…has pitched 6 consecutive quality starts, his longest quality start streak in his career…his previous high in consecutive quality starts was 2 (last: 9/10-9/17/22)…his 6-game quality start streak is tied for the 2nd longest in the Major Leagues with Joe Ryan-MIN and trails only Framber Valdez-HOU (7).

KIRBY ON THE ROAD…is set to make his 16th road start of his career…Kirby has a 6-3 record on the road with a 3.16 ERA (28 ER, 79.2 IP) with 14 walks and 69 strikeouts…his 6 away wins are tied 2nd on the Mariners since 2022 with Robbie Ray and trails only Logan Gilbert (9).

MARVELOUS MONTH OF MAY…in 7 starts in the month of May Kirby has a 3-1 record with a 2.93 ERA (13 ER, 40.0 IP) and has allowed 4 walks while striking out 39…his 39 strikeouts is the most in any month that he has pitched.

TRIPLE SEVENS…has pitched at least 7.0 innings in each of his last 3 starts (4/27-c)…this marks a career high n consecutive games with at least 7.0 innings pitched…before now Kirby had never pitched 7.0+ innings in consecutive games…during those 3 games Kirby is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA (4 ER, 22.0 IP) and has 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 12-5 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.


STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox (22-19, .537) have lost 5 of their last 6 games following a season-long 8-game winning streak from 4/29-5/6.
The Sox are 0.5 games out of the AL’s 3rd Wild Card spot…AL East teams rank 1-4 in the Wild Card Standings.

Rk. Team W-L Pct. GB

  1. Baltimore 26-14 .650 +4.0
  2. Toronto 24-16 .600 +2.0
  3. New York-AL 23-19 .548 –
  • Boston 22-19 .537 -0.5

SERIES BUSINESS: The Red Sox were swept in the 3-game series vs. STL from Friday-Sunday…They have been swept in 3 of their 4 series losses (also 4/3-5 vs. PIT and 4/10-13 at TB). The Sox are 3-1-1 in their last 5 series (2-1 vs. CLE, 4-0 vs. TOR, 2-1 at PHI, 1-1 at ATL, 0-3 vs. STL).

UPS AND DOWNS: The Red Sox are 1-5 in their last 6 games, beginning 5/7…The went 16-6 in their previous 22 games, from 4/14-5/6, the most wins in MLB over that span. The Sox have been held to 3 runs or fewer in 4 of their last 6 games (3.2 runs/game), after scoring 4 or more runs in 20 of their previous 22 games (6.2 runs/game). BOS has hit .228 with a .675 OPS since 5/7 after leading MLB with a .295 AVG and .840 OPS from 4/14-5/6.

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in doubles (92), rank 2nd in hits (375), and rank 3rd in XBH (144), runs (226), AVG (.267), OBP (.339), and OPS (.783). The Red Sox have scored 5+ runs in 24 games, trailing only TB (26) for most in MLB. The Sox have recorded 10+ hits in 18 games, tied for 4th most in MLB (TB-21, TEX-20, STL-19).

Stat MLB Rank
226 R 3rd
375 H 2nd
92 doubles 1st
145 XBH 3rd
20.3 SO% 5th
Stat MLB Rank
.267 AVG 3rd
.339 OBP 3rd
.444 SLG 5th
.783 OPS 3rd
111 wRC+ T-5th

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: The Red Sox’ outfielders lead MLB in AVG (.303), OBP (.375), SLG (.506), OPS (.881), hits (146), doubles (43), XBH (62), and runs (89). They rank 2nd in RBI (85), 1 behind TB.

TEAM EFFORT: The Red Sox have an MLB-leading 15 players with at least 5 RBI, including 11 with 10+ RBI. From the 7-9 spots in the lineup, the Sox rank 2nd in MLB in hits (115), RBI (66), and XBH (41).

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Six position players on the Red Sox’ active roster are 27 or younger; they have combined to hit 29 of the team’s 51 HR (Devers-11, Casas-5, Verdugo-5, Wong-4, Duran-2, Valdez-2). Position players age 27 or younger have posted 4.5 fWAR for the Red Sox, 2nd most of any team (TB-6.9).

DON’T START WITH US: Starting pitchers have completed at least 6.0 innings in just 7 starts against the Red Sox this season, fewest of any team in MLB. Starters have lasted fewer than 4.0 innings in 12 starts vs. BOS this season, most in MLB…The Dodgers (8) are the only team with more than 7 such starts against them. Starting pitchers are 13-13 with a 5.84 ERA vs. BOS. Right-handed starting pitchers have a 5.78 ERA vs. BOS; left-handed starters have a 5.97 ERA.

RUNNIN’ RED SOX: The Red Sox rank 2nd in MLB in SB% (89.7%, 26-for-29), trailing only CWS (91.7%, 22-for-24). The Sox ranked 22nd in SB% in 2022 (72.2%, 52-for-72). They have been successful in 16 of their last 18 attempts.

SOX & M’s: The Red Sox have won 8 of their last 9 games against the Mariners, beginning 9/14/21. They went 6-1 vs. SEA in 2022, including a 4-game sweep at Fenway Park from 5/19-22/22. Since the start of 2022, the Red Sox are 28-9 against AL West opponents…They beat LAA in a 4-game series from 4/14-17 (3-1), their only games against an AL West team this season.

HOME COOKING: The Red Sox are 13-10 at Fenway Park, including 11-6 in their last 17 games at the venue. The Sox’ series loss to STL from Friday-Sunday dropped them to 5-2-0 in home series and snapped a streak of 4 consecutive series victories at home (3-1 vs. LAA, 2-1 vs. MIN, 2-1 vs. CLE, 4-0 vs. TOR). The Red Sox have not homered in their last 2 games, after hitting 13 HR in their previous 6 home games.

Stat MLB Rank
13 wins T-6th
5.8 R/game 3rd
10.2 H/game 1st
3.9 XBH/game 2nd
Stat MLB Rank
.290 AVG 1st
.358 OBP 1st
.488 SLG 3rd
.834 OPS 2nd

START ME UP: Red Sox starting pitchers have tossed at least 5.0 innings in 17 of their last 18 games. Sox starters recorded 9+ strikeouts in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday (James Paxton and Chris Sale), their 1st time doing so since 6/25-26/2019 (David Price and Chris Sale). Chris Sale allowed 1 run over 8.0 innings on Saturday vs. STL, the longest start of the season for the Red Sox and his longest since 8/8/19 vs. LAA (also 8.0 IP).

PITCHING IN: Four Red Sox pitchers own a relief ERA below 3.00, tied for 3rd most in MLB behind CLE and PIT (5 each; min. 10.0 IP). The Red Sox rank 2nd in the AL and 6th in MLB in save % (73.3%, 11-for-15) after ranking 22nd in MLB 2022 (58.2%, 39-for-67).

Pitcher Relief ERA IP ER
Kutter Crawford 1.08 16.2 2
Chris Martin 1.64 11.0 2
John Schreiber 2.16 16.2 4
Josh Winckowski 2.55 24.2 7

SOX SPLITS: The Red Sox rank 2nd in MLB vs. RHP in SLG (.462), and 3rd in AVG (.271) and OPS (.798). Against LHP, the Sox rank 2nd in the AL in hits (116), XBH (45), and walks (51). The Sox struck out 10+ times in each of their 6 games vs. TB and ATL (11.2 SO/game) but have done so just 5 times in their other 35 games (7.3 SO/game).

SOX SWINGS: The Red Sox have swung and missed at just 0.42 pitches per plate appearance, lowest in the AL and 4th-lowest in MLB (WSH-0.36, ARI-0.38, NYM-0.38). The Sox’ 23.7% whiff rate (656 swings and misses) is 2nd-lowest in the AL and 5th-lowest in MLB. The Sox have had 6,188 pitches thrown to them this season, 2nd most in the AL and 5th most in MLB.

CLOSE SHAVES: 27 of the Sox’ 41 games have been decided by 3 runs or fewer (15-12)…The only teams with more games decided by 3 runs or fewer are CLE (32), LAA (30), and SEA (29). The Red Sox lead MLB with 4 walk-off wins.

COMEBACK KIDS: The Red Sox are tied with ARI and BAL for the most come-from-behind wins in MLB (14)…They trailed by multiple runs in 7 of those 14 wins.


2023 3-2 5.26 7 7 37.2 22 4 14 33 1.33 .254
CAREER 12-11 3.48 60 27 183.2 71 12 66 197 1.17 .222

Allowed 3 runs over 5.2 IP on Sunday at PHI (5 H, BB, 4 SO). Is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA (3 ER/10.1 IP) and 2 SV in 4 games (1 start) vs. SEA…Recorded a SV in his last outing against SEA on 6/12/22, tossing a scoreless 9th inning (SO) Has allowed 3 ER or fewer in 27 of his 28 career starts. The Red Sox have won 5 of his 7 starts, including all 4 at Fenway Park. Has pitched at least 5.0 innings in 6 of his 7 starts this season. Has an expected ERA of 3.64 (based on quality of contact and amount of contact). Owns a 3.42 ERA (31 ER/81.2 IP) in 30 career games (11 starts) in games following a team loss.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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