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Seattle Mariners beat the Houston Astros on Saturday, 5-2
Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, 7-5
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The AL West Division is shaping up to be a serious race to the finish for not only a divisional title but potentially two or three teams with a wildcard. The Houston Astros (70-52) host the Seattle Mariners (66-55) in a three-game series starting on Friday and concluding on Sunday. This series is not only pivotal to the race to the AL West but also will impact the race for the AL Wildcard.
The Mariners entered the 2023 MLB All-Star Break with an overall record of 45-44. They are off to a solid start in the second half of the season. Seattle accounted for a record of 21-11 in the second half of the season.
The Astros had one of the best records in the AL and competed heavily for the AL West Division with the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels. Houston entered the 2023 MLB All-Star Break with an overall record of 50-41. Through the start of the second half of the season, the Astros have accounted for a 20-11 record.
The Mariners have gotten the better end of the outcomes as they won five of the seven games this season. The last time these two teams met was in a four-game series back in early July before the start of the 2023 MLB All-Star Break. Seattle won three of the four games in that series.
The Astros are the most efficient team this season, especially in the batting game. The Mariners are just barely the more consistent pitching team ahead of the Astros.
Seattle has held Houston to only one run in four of their five wins as their pitching and fielding have been resilient. The most they have allowed in a game this season is five runs. As the season progressed, the Mariners played more consistently, especially in the batting game.
While the Astros are the defending world champions, the Mariners have experience in the way they play and have confidence in their ability to account for big wins.
The Mariners didn't start the 2023 MLB Season on the right track, especially in the batting game, where they struggled the most. They were unable to utilize the potential of their reliable player at the plate, including centerfielder Julio Rodriguez.
As the season progressed, the Mariners developed a rhythm at the plate. They found themselves more efficient in the batting game.
Seattle ranks seventh in the AL in runs accounted for (559), seven in home runs accounted for (149), sixth in stolen bases (86), fourth in walks accounted for (411), 14 strikeouts encountered (1199), 11th in batting average (.238), seventh in on-base percentage (.318), ninth in slugging percentage (.406) and ninth in OPS (.724).
Rodriguez accounted for 72 runs, 134 hits, 29 double-base hits, 20 home runs, 78 RBIs, 30 stolen bases, 38 walks, 137 strikeouts, a team-high batting average of .269, an on-base percentage of .329 and a slugging percentage of .451.
They have five total batters that have accumulated over 100 hits. Catcher Cal Ralighn leads the team in home runs accounting for with 22.
The Mariners have remained highly efficient at the mound since the start of the season. Seattle is ranked second in the AL in ERA (3.73), fourth in hits allowed (967), fifth in runs allowed (497), third in home runs allowed (131), first in walks allowed (310) and fifth in strikeouts (1095).
They have a great combination of starting pitchers as well as pitchers that can come in as replacements and closers. Starting pitchers Luis Castillo and George Kirby are the two players named to the 2023 MLB All-Star Game.
Logan Gilbert (3.80 ERA in 150.2 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher for the Mariners on Saturday, while Emerson Hancock (5.40 ERA in 10 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher on Sunday.
The Astros came into the 2023 MLB Season as one of the most talented and efficient rosters in the league. They were a team expected to remain in the hunt for a second consecutive World Series title. They have been neck and neck with the Rangers, not only on the field but in the standings.
The Astros are ranked third in the AL in runs accounted for (599), fifth in hits accounted for (1043), sixth in home runs accounted for (159), fifth in stolen bases (89), second in walks accounted for (415), second in strikeouts encountered (964), fifth in batting average (.252), fifth in on-base percentage (.325), fifth in slugging percentage (.419) and fifth in OPS (.744).
They are loaded with talent at the plate this season players previously named All-Stars. Rightfielder Kyle Tucker and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez. Tucker has accounted for 69 runs, 131 hits, 24 home runs, 92 RBIs, 24 stolen bases, 59 walks, a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .377 and a slugging percentage of .526. Alvarez has accounted for 55 runs, 76 hits, 21 home runs, 64 RBIs, 42 walks, a batting average of .278, an on-base percentage of .386 and a slugging percentage of .571.
Houston quickly follows Seattle in terms of efficient pitching this season. The Astros are ranked third in the AL in ERA (3.78), fifth in hits allowed (975), seventh in runs allowed (509), eighth in home runs allowed (146) and seventh in strikeouts (1091). Starting pitcher Framber Valdez was named to the 2023 MLB All-Star Game for his stellar pitching.
Valdez (3.31 ERA in 149.2 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher for the Astros on Saturday, while Hunter Brown (4.16 ERA in 125.1 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher on Sunday.
The Mariners are not on the same level of power and proficiency at the plate as the Astros. Throughout the season, they have developed that rhythm to match the level of the Astros. Seattle has gotten the best of Houston this season, but each series is different. The Houston are determined to shed the 5-2 series lead the Mariners possess this season by starting some of their best pitchers. It may help, especially on Sunday, but this is going to be a tough series for both teams.
Julio Rodriguez (.269)
Kyle Tucker (.297)
Cal Raleigh (22)
Kyle Tucker (24)
Julio Rodriguez (78)
Kyle Tucker (92)
J.P. Crawford (.379)
Yordan Alvarez (.386)
Julio Rodriguez (134)
Kyle Tucker (131)
George Kirby & Logan Gilbert (10)
Framber Valdez, Hunter Brown & J.P. France (9)
Tyler Saucedo (2.13)
Hector Neris (1.81)
Luis Castillo (166)
Framber Valdez (148)
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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