Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Seattle Mariners (21-22) at Atlanta Braves (27-16)

SEATTLE MARINERS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue an 11-day, 9-game road trip (3-3) with the 1st of 3 games against the Atlanta Braves, the last leg of the road trip before returning home for a 10-game homestand… Seattle opened the road trip with a 3-game series win in Detroit (2-1), followed by a series in Boston (1-2)… tonight’s game will be televised live on Apple TV+ with Wayne Randazzo and Dontrelle Willis on the call, and Heidi Watney reporting from the field…the game will also be broadcast live on Seattle Sports (710 AM) and Mariners.com with Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith.

ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners dropped Wednesday’s rubber game against the Red Sox by a score of 12-3…Seattle is 10-12 at T-Mobile Park and 11-10 on the road this season…the Mariners are 7-3 over their last 10 road games (4/30-c)…Seattle is 16-8 when scoring 4+ runs and 5-14 when scoring 3-or-fewer.

  • Instant Classic – The last time the Mariners and Braves met on Sept. 11, 2022, they provided one of the most memorable games of the 2022 season…both Julio Rodríguez and Eugenio Suárez homered twice, with Julio hitting a leadoff homer and a 117.2 mph game-tying home run in the 9th, while Suárez clubbed a walk-off blast later in the inning to seal a 8-7 Mariners win.
  • Recent Success Against the Braves – The Mariners have won 10 of their last 12 games against the Braves dating back to 2014, including winning 4 of their last 5 in Atlanta.
  • New Faces, Same Results – The Mariners pitching staff has been led by new faces this season, with players who had previously never pitched for Seattle combining to go 4-5 with a 1.78 ERA (19 ER, 96.0 IP), 85 strikeouts and 20 walks.
  • Consistent Crawford – J.P. Crawford has reached base safely in 14-consecutive games (4/30-c)…he and Ty France (15 G, 5/2-c) are 1 of 3 sets of teammates with active on base streaks of 12+ games.
  • Programming Note – Tomorrow’s game will air on FOX, with Jason Benetti and AJ Pierzynski on the call…the Mariners will return Sunday to regular programming on ROOT SPORTS, featuring former Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron in the booth.

THE BRYCE IS RIGHT…Bryce Miller will make his 4th career Major League start in tonight’s game… through his first 3 starts, Miller is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA (1 ER, 19.0 IP), 1 walk and 18 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .111 (7×63) batting average…he is 1 of just 2 pitchers in Mariners history to post a sub-1.00 ERA in his first 3 starts, joining Félix Hernández (0.86 ERA)…Miller’s WHIP of 0.421 is the lowest in MLB history through a pitcher’s first 3 career starts (min. 15.0 IP)…he is the first pitcher in MLB history to tally at least 6.0 innings and allow 3-or-fewer base runners in each of his first 3 starts, and his 8 total baserunners allowed through 3 starts are the fewest in MLB history (min. 15.0 IP).

TY’s HITTING STREAK MARCHES ON…Ty France went 1-for-5 in Wednesday’s game, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games (5/3-c)…he is batting .333 (20×60) with 7 runs, 4 doubles, 1 home run, 5 RBI and 2 walks during the streak, getting on base at a .375 clip and slugging .450 with an .825 OPS since May 3…the Mariners first baseman has 5 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…the current 14-game streak by France is the longest active streak in the Majors…with a hit in tonight’s game, France would become the first Mariners hitter with a 15-game hitting streak since Mitch Haniger (17 G, 8/18-9/5/2018).

CROSSING THEIR T’s AND DOTTING THE ZONE…the Mariners have the best pitching staff in the Major Leagues by fWAR (8.5), ranking ahead of 2nd-place Minnesota (7.2) by a wide margin…Seattle pitchers also rank T4th in the Majors in ERA (3.55), while leading the Majors in Fielding Independent Pitching (3.32), soft-contact percentage (19.1), fewest barrels (64) and barrel per plate appearance (4.0%)…they rank 4th in WHIP (1.19) and 2nd in SO/BB ratio (3.31) and tied for 1st in Outside the Zone Swing Percentage (34.4%)…Mariners starting pitchers are 2nd in the Majors in fWAR (5.8) trailing Minnesota (6.1)…Mariners relief pitchers rank 2nd in the Majors in fWAR (2.7) trailing Baltimore (3.1)…during the month of May, the Mariners pitching staff holds a 3.45 ERA, tied for 4th-best in the Majors (also: Colorado), trailing San Diego (2.69), Minnesota (3.29) and Cleveland (3.33).

FOR HE’S A RALEIGH GOOD FELLOW…Cal Raleigh went 1-for-3 with 1 double, 1 run scored and 1 walk in Wednesday’s game…over his last 6 games dating back to May 10, Cal is batting .350 (7×20) with 5 runs, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 4 RBI and 4 walks, while getting on base at a .458 clip and slugging .750 (1.208 OPS)…overall this season, Cal ranks tied for 3rd among catchers with 7 home runs (also: Shea Langeliers-OAK, Adley Rutschman-BAL and Will Smith-LAD), trailing only Sean Murphy-ATL (10 HR) and Salvador Perez-KC (9 HR)…dating back to the beginning of the 2022 season, Cal leads all catchers with 34 home runs and ranks 2nd among American League catchers with 5.4 fWAR, trailing only Adley Rutschman-BAL (6.8 fWAR).

KELLING IT…Jarred Kelenic went 1-for-4 with 1 double and 1 walk in Wednesday’s game…overall this season, he is batting .282 (42×149) with 19 runs, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs, 21 RBI, 6 stolen bases and 11 walks, getting on base at a .333 clip, slugging .537 with a .870 OPS…the 23-year-old outfielder ranks 6th among American League outfielders with a 141 wRC+, trailing only Brent Rooker-OAK (180), Randy Arozarena-TB (168), Aaron Judge-NYY (164), Yordan Alvarez-HOU (158) and Mike Trout-LAA (144).

SAVE A HORSE, RIDE WITH CABALLERO…Jose Caballero is batting .407 (11×27) with 6 runs, 2 doubles, 4 RBI and 5 walks in 11 games during the month of May, while getting on base at a .515 clip and slugging .482 (.997 OPS) during the month…overall since he joined the team on April 15, he is batting .298 (14×47) with 9 runs, 3 doubles, 5 RBI and 7 walks, while going 3-for-3 in stolen bases, getting on base at a .393 clip with a .755 OPS and a 122 wRC+.

WE’LL BE HOME SOON…the Mariners return for a 10-game homestand, beginning with 4 Value Games against the Oakland Athletics (May 22-25), including AANHPI Heritage Night on Tuesday, May 23… Seattle then welcomes the Pittsburgh Pirates for 3 games (May 26-28), featuring Sing- Along Fireworks Night on Friday, May 26, 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…you can find tickets for all upcoming games at Mariners.com/Tickets.

AS YOU KNOW…Jose Caballero walked twice in Wednesday’s game, once after seeing 9 pitches and again after seeing 10, but, DID YOU KNOW?…that Caballero is the first batter in the Majors this season to draw multiple walks in the same game, each after seeing 9+ pitches in each plate appearance?…he is just the second Mariners hitter to accomplish the feat since at least 1988 (the start of the Pitch Tracking era), joined only by Dylan Moore, who did so on July 1, 2022 vs. OAK.

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Mariners tonight open a three-game weekend series in what is the only scheduled matchup between the clubs this season…The two teams played three games in Seattle last season.

  • Seattle took two-of-three from Atlanta last season at T-Mobile Park, and the two clubs are playing in back-to-back years for the first time in history… Prior to last season, the Braves and Mariners had not faced each other since 2017.
  • The two have played just 19 times in total since the advent of interleague play in 1997, with Atlanta going 8-11 (.421) all-time against the Mariners… Dating to 2014, the Braves are just 2-8 (.200) against Seattle.
  • The Braves have not won a series against the Mariners since 2011, when Atlanta swept a three-game set in Seattle.
  • The two clubs have played just one here at Truist Park…Seattle took two-of-three games here in 2017, in the stadium’s inaugural season.
  • RH Bryce Elder has never faced the Mariners, nor has he pitched against a member of Seattle’s current roster…The 6-foot-2, 225-pound righthander has made eight starts for Atlanta this season, posting a perfect 3-0 record with a 1.94 ERA (10 ER/46.1 IP), third lowest in baseball…In five career interleague starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA (9 ER/26.0 IP).
  • RH Bryce Miller is set to make just his fourth career major league start, and has never faced Atlanta…The 6-foot-2, 180-pound native of Mount Pleasant, TX, is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA over his first three career starts, allowing just seven hits, one walk and one run over his first 19.0 innings… Each of his last two starts have been scoreless, and he enters tonight with 13.0 consecutive scoreless innings.

WIN: Atlanta rallied with two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth Wednesday night to beat the Rangers, 6-5…It marked the Braves’ third win this season when trailing entering the eighth.

  • Atlanta improved to 3-12 (.200) when trailing after seven innings this season, tied for the third-best record in baseball…Only the Reds (6-20, .231) and Dodgers (4-15, .211) have been better…For reference, teams are 63-531 (.106) when trailing after seven innings in total.
  • Orlando Arcia broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run…It marked just the third go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later of his career.
  • The Braves improved to 8-9 in interleague play with the win, and are in the final three games of 14 consecutive games against the American League… Atlanta hosts Seattle at Truist Park this weekend before playing another N.L. team (Los Angeles).

ROSTER MOVES: The Braves today selected the contract of INF Charlie Culberson to Atlanta, returned INF Ehire Adrianza from his rehabilitation assignment and transferred him to the 60-day injured list with a left shoulder strain…Atlanta optioned INF Braden Shewmake to Triple-A Gwinnett yesterday.

  • Additionally, Atlanta today returned LHP Lucas Luetge from his rehabilitation assignment and reinstated him from the injured list, and placed LHP Dylan Lee on the 15-day injured list, backdated to May 17, with left shoulder inflammation.
  • Culberson appeared in 230 games for Atlanta from 2018-20, and hit .265/.314/.454 with the team… Recorded pinch-hit, walk-off home runs on May 28 and June 3, 2018, becoming the first player in Atlanta-era franchise history (since 1966) with two such homers in the same season…Only one other Braves player, Brian Hunter, has had two such homers in his entire Atlanta career…No Braves have hit a pinch-hit, walk-off homer since Culberson did so in 2018.

BRYCE VS. BRYCE: Bryce Elder starts for Atlanta tonight, while Bryce Miller is set to pitch for Seattle…Per Elias, tonight marks the first time in history two pitchers that go by Bryce will start against each other.

  • Just seven players in history have gone by the first name ‘Bryce,’ including four who are currently active.
  • In addition to the two tonight, OF Bryce Johnson has appeared in 15 games for San Francisco this season, while OF Bryce Harper is a 12-year major league veteran and two-time MVP, and has played 13 games for Philadelphia this season.

ACUÑA JR. STREAK: Ronald Acuña Jr. drove a 1-2 pitch in Wednesday’s sixth inning out to center field, and has homered in a majors-best four straight games.

  • Just one player in baseball has a longer homer streak this season, as St. Louis’ Nolan Arenado did so in five straight games last week…The Mets’ Pete Alonso has the second-longest active run, homering in each of his last three games.
  • Four of Acuña Jr.’s last six hits have left the ballpark, and he is batting .375/.474/1.125 over his last four games.
  • He has one longer homer streak in his career, doing so in five straight games in August of 2018…He is the first Braves batter to homer in four straight since Matt Olson did so from September 28 to October 2 of last year.
  • Acuña Jr. also stole second base on Wednesday, his N.L.-leading 18th stolen base this season…It marked his first game this season with a homer and a stolen base, and the 15th such game of his career…Since his debut season in 2018, only Christian Yelich (18 times) has more games with a homer and stolen base.
  • Acuña Jr.is currently on pace for 41 homers and 68 stolen bases this season…No player in history has reached both of those marks in the same year.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #55 Bryce Elder RHP
2023 Record: 3-0, 1.94 ERA • 2022 Record: 2-4, 3.17 ERA
vs. RHB: .258 (25-97), 1 HR • vs. LHB: .176 (13-74), 2 HR
Home: 0-0, 1.96 ERA (5 ER/23.0 IP) • Away: 3-0, 1.93 ERA (5 ER/23.1 IP)

Tonight’s Game

  • Set to make his first career start against Seattle and ninth on the season.
  • Enters play with 13 consecutive outings of at least 5.0 innings pitched.
  • His 1.94 ERA on the season is tied for the lowest in the National League and tied for the second lowest in the majors among qualified starters.
  • Trails only Minnesota’s Sonny Gray (1.64).
  • Elder’s 2.78 ERA with runners on base is the lowest in the majors among qualified starters.
  • Scattered five hits and one walk over 5.0 innings of two-run ball while fanning three hitters in his last start at Toronto.
  • His groundball rate of 56.8% of balls put in play is the fourth highest in the majors among qualified starters.
  • Has recorded an out on 64.8% of those grounders put in play, the fifth highest rate in baseball among qualifiers.
  • Elder’s 2.39 ERA through 17 career starts is the lowest in Atlanta franchise history to begin a career.
  • The 98.0 innings pitched through his first 17 games started are the most by an Atlanta player to begin their career since Michael Soroka in 2018-19.
  • His 26 earned runs allwed are also the fewest during that span.
  • He has five starts in his career of at least 6.0 innings without allowing a run, the most such games in Atlanta franchise history (since 1966) in a player’s first 15 starts…Larry McWilliams (’78) and Ian Anderson (’20-21) both had four such starts.
  • Is 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA over his last 13 games started after being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, dating to his August 14, 2022.
  • In that stretch, Elder is averaging 6.0 innings pitched per outing, tied for the fourth highest rate in the National League (min. 10 starts).

2023 Recap

  • Elder has held opponents to one run or less in four of his six starts this season while pitching at least 5.0 frames in every outing.
  • His nine appearances of at least 5.0 innings pitched while holding opponents to one run or less are tied for the most through a player’s first 17 career games started with Michael Soroka.
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