Thursday, June 13, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

MLB Preview: Seattle Mariners (78-61) at Tampa Bay Rays (85-55)


TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue the 10-game road trip (2-4) tonight with the 1st of 4 games against the Tampa Bay Rays…the Mariners opened the road trip with a 3-game series against the New York Mets (1-2), followed by a 3-game series at the Cincinnati Reds (1-2)…following Sunday’s series finale against the Rays, Seattle will return home for a 7-day, 6-game homestand vs. the Los Angeles Angels (3 G, Sept. 11-13) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (3 G, Sept. 15-17)….tonight’s game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS with Dave Sims and Mariners Hall of Famer Dan Wilson on the call…the game will also be broadcast live on Seattle Sports (710 AM) and with Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith on the call.

ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners won yesterday’s series finale vs. the Reds by an 8-4 score, snapping a 3-game skid…with yesterday’s win, the Mariners are 15-6 over their last 21 games, 23-9 over their last 32, 25-10 over their last 35, 28-11 over their last 39, 31-13 over their last 44 and 40-19 over their last 59 games…the Mariners are 61-21 when scoring at least 4 runs and 17-40 when scoring 3-or-fewer…the Mariners are 39-29 at T-Mobile Park and 39-32 on the road this season…they are 26-23 in day games and 52-38 at night.

  • It’s Still Series-ly Impressive – The Mariners have dropped back-to-back series on this road trip for the first time since losing 2 series in a row at Baltimore (June 23-25) and vs. Washington (June 26-28)… despite the back-to-back series losses, the Mariners have won 11 of their last 14 series and hold a 14-4-1 series record over their last 19 series.
  • Series Openers – The Mariners are 27-18 in series openers (13-10 on the road) this season.

BEST IN THE LAND SINCE JULY 1…the Mariners are 40-19 (.678) over their last 59 games (7/1-c), tied for the best record in MLB during that span with Baltimore (40-19, .678)…since July 1, the Mariners offense ranks 2nd in the American League with a .816 OPS, while also ranking 2nd in the AL with a .348 on-base percentage…Seattle pitchers have allowed the fewest runs (218) and have posted the lowest ERA (3.41) in the Majors during that span.

POWER UP…the Mariners hit 3 home runs in last night’s game and lead the American League with 77 home runs in 40 games since July 22, trailing only Atlanta (81 HR) for most in the Majors…Seattle ranks ahead of Houston (75 HR) and Minnesota (66 HR) in the American League during that span (7/22-c)… since July 22, Cal Raleigh and Julio Rodríguez are tied for the American League lead with 14 home runs apiece, ranking ahead of Corey Seager-TEX (13 HR), Adam Duvall-BOS (12 HR) and Mitch Garver-TEX (12 HR) during that span.

TEOSCAR-WORTHY PERFORMANCE…Teoscar Hernández went 2-for-4 with 1 walk in yesterday’s game to extend his hitting streak to 15 games (8/21-c), tying his career-best 15-game streak with Toronto in 2020…during his active streak, he is batting .387 (24×62) with 2 doubles, 7 home runs, 20 RBI and a 1.176 OPS…the 15-game hitting streak is the tied for the longest active streak in the Majors with Trea Turner-PHI (15 G)…over his last 32 games since the beginning of August, Teo is batting .367 (47×128) with 17 runs scored, 10 doubles, 9 home runs, 27 RBI, 6 walks, 2 hit-by-pitches and 1 stolen base, while reaching base at a .399 clip and slugging .656 with a 1.055 OPS.

CAPTAIN CRAWFORD…J.P. Crawford went 1-for-5 with a 1 run, 1 home run and 3 RBI in yesterday’s game, recording his 15th home run of the season…he joins Alex Rodriguez (done 5x, 1996-2000) and Todd Cruz (1982) as the only other primary shortstops in Mariners history with 15+ home runs in a season (min. 60% of games at SS)…with 15 HR and 81 walks this season, Crawford is the first shortstop in MLB with 15+ HR and 80+ walks in a season since Marcus Semien with Oakland in 2019 (33 HR/87 BB)…only 4 shortstops have recorded 15 HR/80 BB seasons since 2000: Crawford-SEA (2023, 15+ HR/81+ BB), Semien-OAK (2019, 33 HR/87 BB), Hanley Ramirez-FLA (2008, 33 HR/93 BB) and A. Rodriguez-TEX/SEA (done 3x, 2000, 2002, 2003).

RALEIGH GOOD…in 40 games dating back to July 22, Cal Raleigh is batting .269 (39×145) with 27 runs, 8 doubles, 14 home runs, 29 RBI and 18 walks, while reaching base at a .348 clip and slugging .616 with a .961 OPS…during that span, his 14 home runs are tied for the American League lead (also: Julio Rodríguez-SEA) and rank tied for 4th in MLB, trailing only Pete Alonso-NYM (16), Marcell Ozuna-ATL (15) and Kyle Schwarber-PHI (15)…overall this season, Cal leads all MLB catchers with 26 home runs and leads American League catchers with 4.0 fWAR, while trailing only Sean Murphy-ATL (4.5) and William Contreras-MIL (4.3) for most fWAR among MLB catchers.

THE J-ROD SHOW…Julio Rodríguez has been one of the best hitters in the Majors since July 1, batting .343 (82×239) with 39 runs, 18 doubles, 1 triple, 14 home runs, 51 RBI, 15 walks and 18 stolen bases, while getting on base at a .392 clip and slugging .603 (.994 OPS) in 54 games…during that span, he ranks among the Major League leaders in average (4th), OBP (16th), OPS (8th), extra-base hits (3rd, 33), stolen bases (T-3rd, 18) wRC+ (T-7th, 173) and fWAR (2nd, 3.7).

  • Exclusive Club – Julio has 11.5 bWAR over his first 2 Major League seasons, tied for 11th-most over a player’s first 2 seasons in MLB history with Oscar Charleston (1920-21)…since 1969, J-Rod trails only Kris Bryant-CHC (12.6), Albert Pujols-STL (12.1), Evan Longoria-TB (11.9), Carlos Correa-HOU (11.8) and Wade Boggs-BOS (11.7).

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS…following Sunday’s series finale in Tampa Bay, the Mariners return to T-Mobile Park for a 6-game homestand against the Angels (3 G, Sept. 11-13) and Dodgers (Sept. 15-17)… the upcoming homestand is highlighted by Hispanic Heritage Day on Sept. 17, “Electric Factory” Shirt Night on Sept. 16 and a post-game drone show on Sept. 15…the upcoming homestand also features 3 Mariners Value Games vs. the Angels from Sept. 11-13.

AS YOU MAY KNOW…Eugenio Suárez recorded his 200th career double in last night’s game, going 2-for-5 with 1 run scored and 1 double in the contest, but…DID YOU KNOW?…with 200 2B and 242 HR, Suárez became just the 10th Venezuelan-born player to reach 200 doubles and 200 home runs in his career?…he joins active players Miguel Cabrera-DET (623 2B, 510 HR), Salvador Perez-KC (255 2B, 244 HR) and Jose Altuve-HOU (395 2B, 207 HR) and retired players Carlos González (302 2B, 234 HR), Victor Martinez (423 2B, 246 HR), Bobby Abreu (574 2B, 288 HR), Magglio Ordóñez (426 2B, 294 HR), Andrés Galarraga (444 2B, 399 HR) and Tony Armas (204 2B, 251 HR).

2023 MLB Breakdown:
Overall 11-7 3.19 28/28 169.1 135 68 60 40 183 25
Home 7-3 2.49 15/15 90.1 59 28 25 21 110 12
Road 4-4 3.99 13/13 79.0 76 40 35 19 73 13
vs. TBR 0-0 6.00 1/1 6.0 7 6 4 0 6 2

Career MLB Breakdown:
Overall 59-62 3.52 176/176 1027.0 857 446 402 344 1120 123
Home 34-29 3.00 90/90 546.1 413 206 182 163 633 62
Road 25-33 4.12 86/86 480.2 444 240 220 181 487 61
vs. TBR 0-0 3.46 2/2 13.0 11 7 5 1 14 2


  • The 30-year-old right-hander is set to make his 29th start of the season, 2nd against the Rays…he is also making his 177th Major League start and 3rd career start against Tampa Bay. Has been named an All-Star in 2019 and 2022. Originally signed as an international free agent by the San Francisco Giants on 12/23/11. Made MLB debut on 6/23/17 vs. Washington (w/ Cincinnati). Signed a 5-year contract extension with the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 24, 2022 after being acquired in a trade with Cincinnati on July 30, 2022.

LAST TIME OUT…ND in last start on 9/2 at NYM…tossed 5.0 innings and allowed 5 runs on 8 hits (2 HR) and 2 walks with 2 strikeouts.

VS. AL EAST…in 12 career starts against AL East opponents Luis owns a 3.12 ERA (25 ER, 72.2 IP) with 25 walks and 75 strikeouts…this will be his 6th time facing an AL East opponent this season and he has faced each AL East team at least once already this season.

INNINGS EATER…has made 9 starts this season where he has pitched at least 7.0 innings…his 9 starts of 7.0+ innings pitched are tied for the most in a season in his career…he currently has the 7th most 7.0+ innings pitched games in the majors this season and the 2nd most on the Mariners…he ranks behind George Kirby (10).

SEASON-HIGH PUNCHIES…set a new season-high in strikeouts with 11 against the Twins on July 19….this marked the 3rd time this season and the 18th time in Castillo’s career that he has recorded 10+ strikeouts in a game (last: 6/6 vs. LAA)…his career-high in strikeouts in a single game is 13 which he achieved on 8/5/19 vs. LAA.

HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR…was named to his third All-Star team on July 2 (also: 2019, 2022)…he was joined by teammates George Kirby and Julio Rodríguez.

MAKING THEM EARN IT…has allowed 60 earned runs through 28 starts this season which is the 4th fewest in the Major Leagues…his 3.19 ERA (60 ER, 169.1 IP) ranks 7th in the Major Leagues among qualified pitchers…he currently ranks behind Kodai Senga-NYM (3.08).

KEEPING THE BASES CLEAN…has allowed 186 runners to reach base safely through 28 starts this season which is the fewest in the Major Leagues…he also ranks among Major League leaders (min. 100.0 IP) in opponents average (T-10th, .214/135×632) and WHIP (3rd, 1.033).

OFF TO A GOOD START…his 243 strikeouts through his first 36 Mariners starts are the most in Mariners history through a pitchers first 36 starts…he ranks ahead of Félix Hernández (213).


RAY REPORT — Tampa Bay begins the second phase of its seven-game, seven-day homestand against Boston and Seattle tonight at Tropicana Field following its series victory over the Red Sox (2-1)…the Rays are 23-12 in their last 35 games, including wins in 11 of 15, 13 of 18 and 16 of their last 23, following an MLB-worst 5-15 (.250) stretch from 7/1-26…the Rays, who are seeking a fifth consecutive postseason berth, currently occupy the first AL Wild Card spot, leading Seattle by 6.5 games and Toronto by 7.0 games…with 22 games remaining, Tampa Bay is a season-high-tying 3.5 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East after spending 111 consecutive days atop the division from 3/30- 7/19…the Rays 85 victories are tied with the 2008 and 2010 teams for their second most through 140 games in club history, trailing only the 2021 squad (88-52). The Rays have won 10 of their last 12 series on the heels of a 2-7-2 performance in series play from 6/12-7/26…their 23-12 (.647) record during that span (since 7/28) is third best in the AL behind the Mariners and Orioles (both 26-11, .703). Tonight’s game marks the Rays seventh of 17 consecutive games to open September before their first of three off days during the month (9/18, 9/25, 9/28). The Rays remaining opponents have a combined winning pct. of .547, the third-highest mark in the majors behind the Nationals (.560) and Red Sox (.550). The Rays are commencing a stretch of three straight series against clubs currently holding AL playoff positions: Seattle, Baltimore and Minnesota…of Tampa Bay’s final 22 games, 19 are against clubs that currently have a .500 or better record — the Rays 48-38 (.558) record against teams currently above the .500 mark is third best in the majors behind the Braves (50-28, .641) and Orioles (51-38, .573). Seven of Tampa Bay’s last 10 victories have been come-from-behind wins… entering that stretch, only 24 of their 75 victories (32.0%) had been comeback wins.

RAYS GET K’S — The Rays struck out a season-high-tying 17 batters in yesterday’s victory (also: 6/15 at OAK; 6/25 vs. KC)…they totaled 47 strikeouts in the series against Boston, their second most in a three-game set in club history behind only a 49-strikeout effort from 8/16-18, 2019 vs. Detroit…Tampa Bay pitching has recorded 10+ strikeouts in five straight games, matching their second-longest streak of the season (8/22-26) and trailing only a seven-game run from 7/20-28…the Rays 25 double-digit strikeout games since the All-Star break pace the AL and are tied with Milwaukee and San Diego for the most in the majors…in the first half of the season, Tampa Bay’s 36 games with 10+ strikeouts were seventh most in the AL/tied for 11th most in MLB. The Rays have fanned 10+ batters in nine of their last 10 games at Tropicana Field since 8/13, leading all major league pitching staffs in strikeouts per 9.0 IP at home during that span (12.1). Following Tyler Glasnow’s career-high-tying 14-strikeout effort yesterday vs. Boston and Aaron Civale’s career-best 12-strikeout performance on Monday, Rays starters have recorded 12+ strikeouts twice in a three-game span for the third time in club history (last: Blake Snell & Charlie Morton – 6/30-7/2, 2019). On the season, Rays starting pitchers lead the majors with a 26.2 pct. strikeout rate, ahead of Minnesota (25.8%)…it signals the third-highest mark in club history, trailing the 2019 (27.8%) and 2020 (26.5%) Tampa Bay rotations.

HOME SWEET DOME — The Rays 47-24 (.662) home record is tied with the Dodgers for the best in the majors…they are on pace for 54 home victories, which would be their second most in club history behind the 2008 squad (57-24)…they need to go at least 6-4 over their final 10 home games in order to surpass the 2021 Rays (52-29) for the second-most home wins in a season in franchise history. Tampa Bay has won four straight home series for the first time since winning seven straight from 5/2-6/11, going 9-3 at Tropicana Field during their current run (since 8/11)…this comes on the heels of an 0-4-1 stretch in home series play from 7/4-8/10. Yandy Díaz’s .431 OBP at home is tied with LAD Mookie Betts for the best mark in the majors while his .350 AVG ranks third…Brandon Lowe is batting .391 (9-for-23) with one double, three homers and 12 RBI during his six-game home hitting streak.

BULLISH ON THE PEN — The Rays bullpen has posted an MLB-leading 1.45 ERA (37.1IP, 6ER) over its last 10 games since 8/26, ahead of the Yankees (1.88)…Tampa Bay relievers posted a 19.0 scoreless inning streak from 8/25-9/2. The Rays 62-6 (.912) record when leading after six innings is fifth best in the majors, while their 63-3 (.955) when leading after seven innings is second best in MLB behind the Red Sox (60-2, .968).

DAWGS GOTTA EAT — Brandon Lowe has a career-best 16-game on-base streak, tied with BOS Triston Casas and CWS Yoán Moncada for the second-longest active streak in the AL behind SEA Teoscar Hernández (21G)…he is slashing .293/.408/.534 (17-for-58) with two doubles, four homers, 16 RBI and nine walks during the streak. Lowe has produced 11 RBI in his last four games at Tropicana Field, tied for the second most in any four-game span at home within a single season in Rays history, trailing only Carlos Peña (12RBI, 8/26-9/5, 2007)…Isaac Paredes (11RBI, 5/28-6/9) has also accomplished the feat this season…Peña also holds the club RBI record over a five-game span at home (13RBI).

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING — The Rays lead the AL in both homers (202) and stolen bases (149)…they are attempting to become the fifth team all-time to lead the AL in both categories, joining New York-AL in 1931, 1933 and 1938 and Cleveland in 1995 (Elias)…the 202 homers are their most through 140 games in club history, outpacing the 2017 club (198HR), while the 149 steals are third most behind the 2009 (172SB) and 2010 Rays (157SB). The Rays have hit 97 long balls at home this year, sixth most in a season in team history…with 10 home games remaining, the Rays needs nine homers to match the 2017 squad (106HR) for the club’s most at home in a single season.

MARINERS SAIL TO THE BAY — The Rays and Mariners meet for the fourth of seven matchups this season after Tampa Bay dropped two of three games at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park from 6/30-7/2…the Rays have won seven of their last 11 games over the Mariners following a six-game losing streak from 6/18-8/3, 2021…they have lost six of their last eight home series with Seattle since the 2014 season, going 9-17 in those games…the Rays are 18-31 (.367) against the Mariners under Kevin Cash (since 2015), their second-worst record against any opponent during that timeframe, ahead of only Milwaukee (3-7, .300). Rays reliever Shawn Armstrong appeared in 18 games with Seattle over the course of two seasons from 2018-19, recording a 3.93 ERA. Mariners pitching coach Pete Woodworth is a St. Petersburg native and a 2006 graduate of St. Petersburg Catholic High School…he signed with Tampa Bay in 2010 following a four-year career at Florida Gulf Coast University, pitching in 17 games with the FCL Rays the same year…he served as a Rays scout from 2012-13. Seattle bullpen and quality control coach Stephen Vogt was drafted by the Devil Rays in the 12th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and made his MLB debut with Tampa Bay in 2012.

TONIGHT’S START — The sixth-year veteran makes his 11th start/24th appearance tonight, including his seventh start/14th outing at home… this marks his ninth “true” start of the season after serving in an opener/ relief capacity to begin the year…has gone 3-3 with a 4.09 ERA (44.0IP, 20ER) in nine appearances (8GS) since the All-Star break, striking out 33 hitters while issuing just three walks.

LAST TIME OUT — Did not factor into the decision after working 4.2 innings at Cleveland, allowing four runs on a season-high nine hits with no walks and one strikeout. His nine hits allowed were the second most of his career… permitted 10 hits on 5/30/19 at Tampa Bay. Has allowed a season-high-tying four runs in each of his last three starts after allowing eight runs in six appearances (5GS) since 7/19.

UNFAMILIAR FOE — Littell has made one career relief appearance opposite Seattle, which came earlier this year on 7/2…he threw 1.0 scoreless relief inning, allowing no hits or walk while striking out two batters. In 19 career appearances (3GS) against the AL West, he is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA (27.2IP, 9ER) and 29 strikeouts against seven walks… this includes a 1-1 record with a 2.89 ERA (9.1IP, 3ER) in three appearances (2GS) this season.

NO FREE PASSES — Over his last 15 appearances spanning 54.2 innings, Littell has walked just three batters (Riley Greene, 8/4 at DET; Charlie Blackmon, 8/22 vs. COL; Anthony Volpe, 8/27 vs. NYY)…his 0.49 BB/9.0 IP during that span (since 6/21) is the lowest mark in the majors (min. 50.0IP), ahead of SF Logan Webb (0.91 BB/9.0IP)…over that timeframe, Littell has thrown 68.7 pct. of his pitches for strikes, the eighth-highest percentage in the AL (min. 400 pitches thrown). He is the only pitcher in the majors this season to throw 50.0+ innings while allowing eight walks or fewer. His 3.0 pct. walk rate ranks in the 99th percentile among all MLB pitchers (Baseball Savant).

REVERSE, REVERSE — Littell has limited left-handed batters to a .244 (29- for-119) average, compared to a .312 (43-for-138) mark against right-handed hitters…for his career, he has held lefties to a .256 average compared to a .268 clip against righties. Seven of the 11 home runs Littell has surrendered this season have been hit by right-handed hitters, including four in his last two starts.

SEPTEMBER SPOILS — In 37 career appearances (2GS) in the month of September, Littell is 9-1 with a 3.81 ERA (52.0IP, 22ER). He has traditionally been at his best in the second half of the season — in his career, he is 2-5 with a 5.27 ERA (94.0IP, 55ER) in 82 appearances (5GS) before the All-Star break compared to 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA (132.2IP, 48ER) in 80 outings (9GS) following the break.

ODDS AND ENDS — He is 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA (46.0IP, 22ER) in 10 starts this season and 0-1 with a 5.71 ERA (17.1IP, 11ER) in 13 relief appearances. Opponents are batting .349 (22-for-63) with four doubles, one triple and 3 HR against Littell when leading off an inning. He has limited opponents to a .120 (3-for-25) average with runners in scoring position and two outs. Is holding opponents to a .290 batting average the first time through the order compared to .254 the second time through and .290 the third time.

SEASON RUNDOWN — Littell signed a minor league contract with Texas on 2/3 and was a non-roster invitee to Rangers Spring Training…made eight Cactus League appearances before opening the season with Triple-A Round Rock, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (12.0IP, 3ER) in eight relief outings… was dealt to Boston in exchange for cash considerations on 5/5…after pitching in two games for the Red Sox, he was designated for assignment on 5/10 before being claimed by the Rays off waivers on 5/12. Littell made four appearances between 5/16-22 before the Rays placed him on the 15-day injured list on 5/24 with right shoulder fatigue…completed a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham from 6/6-11 and was activated on 6/14.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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