The Reds (62-58) begin the first full week of September with a three game series against the Seattle Mariners at Great American Ball Park. The Mariners (77-59) have a one game lead over the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros in the AL West. They are 32-14 since the All-Star break, but coming off a series loss to the Mets in New York. Prior to that, they’d won 13 of 15.
- Monday (4:10 pm)
- Tuesday (6:40 pm)
- Wednesday (6:40 pm)
Scott Servais is in his eighth season as skipper of the M’s, where his record is 605-562. He had an 11-year major league career with four teams.
The Mariners finished second in the AL West last year and were swept in the ALDS by their division rival Astros. Prior to that, they had gone 20 years without a postseason appearance. In 2001, they had won 116 regular season games.
The Mariners offense is one of the best in MLB. Their lineup has only one hitter with a wRC+ below 100. The Reds have five. Breakdown:
- Hit skill (BA) – 19th (Reds 18th)
- On-base skill (BB%) – 10th (Reds 13th)
- Hitting for power (ISO) – 9th (Reds 18th)
- Overall run production (wRC+) – 5th (Reds 20th)
Since the All-Star break, the Mariners are second to only Atlanta in overall offense. The Reds rank 28th over that stretch.
Reds fans will get a look at Julio Rodriguez who has been the best hitter in MLB since August 15. He’s in the process of making the case for AL MVP votes, having been named the AL Player of the Month in August. Rodriguez is batting over .500 since mid-August, on his way to a 6-7 WAR season.
In 2023, former Red Eugenio Suarez hasn’t matched his 4-WAR 2022 season for the Mariners. His wRC+ is only 103 compared to 130 last year. He’s on pace for 22 home runs. Suarez’s 152 ISO is his lowest power number since his rookie season in Detroit. On the other hand (literally), Suarez has turned in a fantastic defensive season at third base. He’s played 135 games, with strongly positive defensive metrics.
Starting Pitcher Matchups
The Mariners starters rank 4th in ERA, 4th in SIERA and 4th in xERA. The Reds rank 23rd-28th in those categories. The good news is the Reds will miss Luis Castillo and George Kirby, arguably the two best pitchers in the Mariners rotation. The bad news:
That’s a total of nine (9.0) innings of MLB pitching for the three Reds starters.
The Mariners bullpen has been even better than their rotation relative to the rest of the league. It ranks second in ERA, first in xERA and first in SIERA.
They traded their closer, Paul Sewald, to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the deadline. In return, they received utility player Josh Rojas, outfielder Dominic Canzone, and infielder Ryan Bliss.
The Mariners could afford to trade Sewald because their bullpen is deep and talented. Andres Munoz took over the closer role and he’s converted 11 of 14 saves.
It’s good the outcome of these games won’t be determined on paper.