The Mariners embark on another long East Coast road trip beginning with a three-game set against the Mets.
Oh Boise it’s about to get noisy. The Seattle Mariners continue their tank trade revival tour, losing a frustrating Phillies series before now taking on the kings of Queens: the New York Mets. Robinson Canó is gone, rumored to resurface at a future Vedder Cup perhaps, but the entire Mariners roster is in need of flipping the script, not just Jarred Kelenic. Seattle gets no breaks this weekend, facing the AL East leader’s 1-2-3 in the rotation. Well, they get one break, as Jacob deGrom is still on the mend, lest that 1-2-3 be even more daunting.
RIP LOLMets. The frequent butts of jokes in the National League for squandering vast potential and resources to be outdone by their own shoelaces, New York has realized there is no genuine impediment to simply being better if you are willing to spend enough money. An explosive start to 2022 has been fueled by the Mets’ aggressiveness over the past two winters, with a bullpen and rotation almost entirely externally acquired, led by one Edwin Díaz. The offense has been the toast of the town as well, with depth across the board from their several free agent acquisitions this winter, one big trade from last year, and a few internal developments having star performances out of the gate.
This Mets lineup offers a veritable smorgasbord of competence. You’ve got Pete Alonso doing his usual game of smash and do not pass [first base], former AL West Pest Mark Canha infuriating a new league – and rocking a .393 BABIP, and Francisco Lindor in the midst of what anyone who loves baseball hopes is a real resurgence after a slower start. James McCann is wielding a pool noodle at the plate, but Jeff McNeil is overcompensating for his matching monogram friend by adding a little extra oomph to his typical, sneakily good numbers.
Perhaps most worrisome for opponents, this Mets team has the second lowest K% in their league and the highest overall wRC+. They’ve proven to be exceptionally difficult to get out, and between that, the Mariners propensity for stringing together runs in the least efficient way possible, and the New York Time Tax, we could be looking at some lengthy baseball games.
An important aside: To the arbiter of WARdle, please. It is time to add Travis Jankowski to your list of players. Don’t ask me why I’m so invested in this, but I am. Add Trav and his flowing locks post haste, please!
The Mets and owner Steve Cohen opened up their pocket books this offseason to bring in a marquee starter to pair with Jacob deGrom; the three-year, $130 million deal Max Scherzer signed was a record-breaking contract for a pitcher. He’s unquestionably one of the premiere pitchers in the game still, even at 37 years old. The arm fatigue that plagued him during the postseason last year is a distant memory, and with deGrom sidelined with a shoulder issue to start this season, Scherzer’s presence in the Mets rotation has become even more important.
Even though the Athletics enjoyed plenty of success in recent seasons, many of their players toiled away in relative anonymity down by the bay. No one exemplifies that dissonance between success and obscurity more than Chris Bassitt. After suffering an elbow injury that wiped out all of his 2017 season, he’s been one of the most consistent starters in the majors since returning to the mound in ‘18. He’s compiled a 3.23 ERA and a 3.82 FIP in his last four seasons and has been even better this year. One reason why he’s been so overlooked might have to do with his lackluster stuff. He doesn’t throw very hard, but he has a deep and effective repertoire that he can use to keep batters off balance and generate weak contact.
After coming over to the Mets in the Francisco Lindor mega deal, Carlos Carrasco’s first season in New York was a bust. A hamstring injury suffered during spring training held him off the field until the end of July and he was terribly ineffective once he did return to the mound. Completely healthy this year, the effectiveness of his secondary offerings has returned. He’s focused his pitch mix on his hard changeup and slider to pair with a fastball that’s lost some of its luster from his days in Cleveland. Even though his strikeout rate hasn’t bounced back to where it was previously, his walk rate is as low as it’s ever been and his ERA and FIP are now sitting just a hair above three.
The Big Picture:
The Astros have now won 10 straight after sweeping the Twins in Minnesota this week. They’ll head to Washington to face the Nationals this weekend. Houston’s win streak pushed them ahead of the Angels in the standings. Los Angeles took two of three from the Rays this week, highlighted by Reid Detmers’s no-hitter on Tuesday. Both the Rangers and A’s are hot on the Mariners tail in the standings. Texas won two of three against the Royals this week and will host the Red Sox this weekend. The A’s managed to win four of their five games against the Tigers and return home to host the Angels for four games this weekend.
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