Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB Preview: Seattle Mariners (22-23) at Atlanta Braves (28-17)

SEATTLE MARINERS NOTES:

TODAY’S TILT…the Mariners wrap up an 11-day, 9-game road trip (4-4) with the last of 3 games against the Atlanta Braves (1-1)…Seattle opened the road trip with a 3-game series win in Detroit (2-1), followed by a series in Boston (1-2)…today’s game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS with Dave Sims and Mike Cameron on the call…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 defeated the Braves by a 7-3 score in last night’s middle game, evening the series…Seattle is 10-12 at T-Mobile Park and 12-11 on the road this season…the Mariners are 8-4 over their last 12 road games…Seattle is 17-8 when scoring 4+ runs in a game and 5-15 when scoring 3-or-fewer.

  • Road Trip – Seattle would secure a winning road trip with a victory today…the Mariners have not had a losing road trip yet this season (3-3 on first road trip, 5-4 on second road trip, 4-4 on current trip).
  • Series Record – Coming into today’s series finale, the Mariners own a 6-8 series record this season.
  • ATLiens – The Mariners have won 11 of their last 14 games against the Braves dating back to 2014, including winning 5 of their last 7 in Atlanta.
  • Patient J-Rod – Julio Rodríguez drew a career-high 3 walks last night…he became the 7th Mariners player age 22-or-younger to draw 3+ walks in a game and the first since Nick Franklin, Sept. 2, 2013.
  • Georgia On His Mind – Taylor Trammell went 1-for-3 with an RBI last night…the Georgia native became the 85th visiting Georgia-born player in Major League history to record a hit in his home state.

THE PITCHING STAFF…the Mariners have the best pitching staff in the Major Leagues by fWAR (8.9), ranking ahead of 2nd-place Minnesota (7.7)…Seattle also leads the Majors in Fielding Independent Pitching (3.30), fewest walks (117), walks-per-9 innings (2.60), fewest home runs (32), home runs-per-9 innings (0.71), fewest barrels (64) and barrel per plate appearance (5.6%)…the pitching staff ranks T3rd in WHIP (1.19) and T1st in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.42) with Houston…Mariners starting pitchers are 2nd in the Majors in fWAR (6.1) trailing Minnesota (6.4)…Mariners relief pitchers rank 2nd in the Majors in fWAR (2.7) trailing Baltimore (3.3).

26-AND-UNDER…Seattle pitchers age 26-or-younger have compiled Major League-leading 5.6 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement this season, leading by a wide margin over Houston (3.8), Los Angeles-NL (3.0) and Atlanta (2.9)…in fact, the top-4 pitchers age 26-or-younger this season are all Mariners or Braves: Spencer Strider-ATL (1.8 fWAR) and George Kirby (1.8) lead the pack, followed by Logan Gilbert (1.7) and Bryce Miller (1.2).

J.P. RECORDS 500TH HIT…J.P. Crawford went 2-for-4 with an RBI and walk last night, recording his 500th career Major League hit on a go-ahead RBI single in the 4th inning…he also extended his on-base streak to 16 games (4/30-c)…during the streak, the Mariners shortstop has gotten on base at a .386 clip, recording 16 hits and drawing 10 walks over 70 plate appearances…overall this season, J.P.’s 27 walks lead the Mariners.

“STOP IT!”…the Mariners have the best defense in the American League by Outs Above Average (13) this season, ranking ahead of Tampa Bay (11) in the AL and trailing only San Diego (18) for the Major League lead…third baseman Eugenio Suárez is the best defender in the Majors by OAA (8) among all players, regardless of position…Julio Rodríguez (3) ranks in the top-10 among American League outfielders… Seattle’s .990 fielding percentage is tied for 4th-highest in the Majors, trailing San Diego (.993), Tampa Bay (.991) and New York-NL (.991).

J.K. ROLLING…Jarred Kelenic went 2-for-5 with 2 runs scored in last night’s win…in 43 games this season, Kelenic has been one of the American League’s most productive outfielders, batting .287 (45×157) with 22 runs, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs, 21 RBI, 6 stolen bases and 12 walks, getting on base at a .339 clip, slugging .529 with an .868 OPS…he leads the Mariners in extra-base hits (21), batting average, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases (83).

TEO HEATING UP…Teoscar Hernández reached base twice in last night’s win, going 1-for-4 with a run scored, RBI and walk…over his last 16 games (5/3-c), Teo is batting .323 (20×62) with 8 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 8 RBI, 5 walks and 1 stolen base, getting on base at a .368 clip, slugging .435 with an .803 OPS…Hernández has 6 multi-hit games during that span and 13 multi-hit games on the season, most on the Mariners and ranking ahead of Ty France (11) and Julio Rodríguez (11).

BIG DUMPER…Cal Raleigh has been one of the best catchers in the American League this season, posting a .789 OPS in 38 games…he’s batting .235 (31×132) with 23 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, 22 RBI and 18 walks, getting on base at a .327 clip with a .462 slugging percentage…since the start of last season, Cal’s 34 home runs lead Major League catchers…on May 15 at Boston, Raleigh became the first catcher in the 112-year history of Fenway Park to homer from both sides of the plate in a game.

ON THE UPCOMING HOMESTAND…the Mariners return for a 10-game homestand starting tomorrow, 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…tickets for all upcoming games can be found at Mariners.com/Tickets.

AS YOU KNOW…George Kirby takes the mound for the Mariners today…in 8 starts this season, the right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA (14 ER, 51.1 IP) with 4 walks and 41 strikeouts, but…DID YOU KNOW?…that Kirby has been one of the most effective pitchers in the Major Leagues over his last 23 starts?…during that span (7/2/2022-c), the right-hander is 11-4 with a 2.74 ERA (39 ER, 128.1 IP) with 19 walks and 125 strikeouts…his strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.58) during that span ranks 2nd in the Majors (min. 100 IP) to only Kevin Gausman-TOR (8.41)…Kirby’s strikeout-to-walk ratio this season (10.25) leads the Majors, while his career strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.69) is the highest in Major League history through a pitcher’s first 33 career starts.

MARINERS STARTER – RHP GEORGE KIRBY
ABOUT KIRBY…

  • 25-year-old right-hander is making his 9th start of the season, 1st against Atlanta…he is also making his 34th career start, and 2nd career start against the Braves.
  • 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#5 on 5/14 against Boston after turning in a quality start where he only allowed 1 run on 8 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 over 6.2 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 8 starts this season Kirby has only allowed 4 walks while striking out 41…his 10.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks 1st in the Major Leagues among starting pitchers with at least 8 starts this season…he ranks ahead of Zac Gallen-ARI (8.75). QUALITY KIRBY…has pitched 7 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 7-game quality start streak is tied for the longest in the Major Leagues with Framber Valdez-HOU (7).

KIRBY ON THE ROAD…is set to make his 17th road start of his career…Kirby has a 7-3 record on the road with a 3.02 ERA (29 ER, 86.1 IP) with 15 walks and 75 strikeouts…his 7 away wins are tied 2nd on the Mariners since 2022 with Marco Gonzales and trails only Logan Gilbert (9).

MARVELOUS MONTH OF MAY…in 8 career starts in the month of May Kirby has a 4-1 record with a 2.70 ERA (14 ER, 46.2 IP) and has allowed 5 walks while striking out 45…his 45 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.

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES:

TODAY’S GAME: The Braves and Mariners today conclude 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 scored seven runs on nine hits to beat Atlanta, 7-3, last night and even the series.
  • 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 21 times in total since the advent of interleague play in 1997, with Atlanta going 9-12 (.429) all-time against the Mariners… Dating to 2014, the Braves are just 3-9 (.250) 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 series here at Truist Park…Seattle took two-of-three games here in 2017, in the stadium’s inaugural season.
  • LH Jared Shuster is set to make the fourth start of his major league career, and has never faced the Mariners…The 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander is winless in his first three career starts, going 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA (11 ER/13.2 IP)…Atlanta’s top overall prospect as rated by MLB.com, Shuster last started on May 16 at Texas and allowed three hits and three runs over 5.0 innings.
  • RH George Kirby has made one career start against Atlanta, pitching against the Braves on September 10 of last season…The 6-foot-4, 215-pound native Rye, NY, pitched 6.0 innings in that start, allowing just three hits and one unearned run while fanning six…In eight starts for the Mariners this season, he is 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA (14 ER/51.1 IP) and just four walks.

LOSS: Atlanta scored twice in the bottom of the first inning last night, but allowed seven straight runs in a loss, 7-3, to Seattle…Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson and Marcell Ozuna all had two hits for the Braves.

  • The Braves fell to 2-11 (.154) this season when scoring three or fewer runs…Their two wins in such games are tied for third fewest in the majors… Conversely, Atlanta is 26-6 (.813) when scoring at least four runs, tied for the second-most wins in baseball.
  • Atlanta opened the scoring with a pair of first-inning runs on a Matt Olson opposite-field homer…The Braves have scored first in 34 of their 45 games (76%) this season, tied with Tampa Bay for the most such games in baseball.
  • The Braves fell to 9-10 in interleague play with the win, and are in the final game of 14 consecutive games against the American League…Atlanta hosts Seattle at Truist Park this weekend before playing another N.L. team (Los Angeles).

FIRST INNING: The Braves plated two runs in the first inning last night, and Atlanta has scored at least one first-inning run in 19 games this season, including five of their last seven home games and each of the last two.

  • The Braves’ 36 first-inning runs are two shy of Los Angeles (N.L.) and Tampa Bay for the major league lead.
  • Despite last night’s loss, Atlanta owns the best record in the National League in games in which its scores in the first inning (15-4, .789)…Only Minnesota (12-0, 1.000), Detroit (11-2, .846), Tampa Bay (16-4, .800) and Texas (12-3, .800) have been better in baseball.
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. singled on the second pitch of the first inning and Matt Olson homered two pitches later, and Atlanta led Seattle, 2-0, four pitches into the first inning last night.
  • The Braves have scored 17 runs this season within the first 10 pitches of the game, most in the majors, and also lead the league in average (.416), on-base (.442), slugging (.820), OPS (1.262), hits (37) and home runs (9) in that span.
  • Atlanta is on pace to score 130 first-inning runs this season…The Braves have scored 100 first-inning runs just five times since 2000, including 121 in 2003…Atlanta had just 71 first-inning runs all of last season.

HOMERS: Matt Olson’s first-inning home run last night marked Atlanta’s seventh consecutive game with at least one homer, matching Minnesota for the longest active run in the majors.

  • Atlanta’s run dates to May 13 at Toronto, and is one game shy of its longest such streak of the season… The Braves homered in eight straight games from April 10 to April 18.
  • The Braves have hit 35 home runs in 18 games this month, most in the National League and trailing just the Yankees (37) for most in the majors…Last season, Atlanta led the N.L. in home runs in April (28), June (54) and July (42), and led the majors with 43 homers in September.
  • Atlanta is 27-9 (.750) when hitting at least one home run this season, the best record in the N.L… Conversely, the Braves are just 1-8 (.111) when they do not homer.

DEFENSE: The Braves committed three more errors last night, the third time this season the club has at least three errors in a single game… Atlanta is the only team in the majors’ with as many as three games with three-or-more errors.

  • Three of the seven runs Atlanta allowed last night were unearned…The Braves lead the National League with 175 runs allowed this season, however Atlanta’s 19 unearned runs allowed on the season are fifth most in the N.L. and seventh most in the majors.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #45 Jared Shuster
LHP • 6-3 • 210 • 24 yrs
2023 Record: 0-2, 7.24 ERA • 2023 MiLB Record: 2-0, 3.28 ERA
vs. RHB: .300 (12-40), 1 HR • vs. LHB: .250 (3-12), 0 HR
Home: 0-0, 9.00 ERA (4/4.0) • Away: 0-2, 6.52 ERA (7/9.2)

Tonight’s Game

  • Set to make his fourth start of the season with Atlanta and first of his career against Seattle.
  • Will be his fourth career start.
  • Surrendered three hits, three runs and two walks while three four over 5.0 innings pitched in his last start against Texas.
  • Is 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA and 23 strikeouts in five starts with the Stripers.
  • Averaging 8.39 strikeouts per nine innings with Gwinnett while having a 5.27 rate with Atlanta.

2023 Recap

  • Recalled to Atlanta on
  • Was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after last start against San Diego on April 7.
  • Made his major league debut against Washington on April 2.
  • Allowed six hits, four runs and five walks through 4.2 innings pitched.
  • Was the third player from the Braves’ 2020 First-Year Player Draft to debut with the club.
  • Joined Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder as the other hurlers from the ‘20 draft class to play for Atlanta.
  • Became the eighth Braves pitcher to debut with a start against the Nationals/Expos.
  • Pitched to a 1.74 ERA in six appearances, four starts, with 19 strikeouts through 20.2 innings pitched in Spring Training.
  • Began the Spring without allowing a run in his first four outings (12.2 IP).
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