There is a lot at risk, so get ready to see a fierce fight. Over the course of the weekend, the Seattle Mariners will play the Tampa Bay Rays four times. Every single American League team is in the running for a postseason berth and a division title. On Friday, the second game of this pivotal series will be played.
For a short while, no team could catch the Mariners, and they were in first position all by themselves. In fact, they cooled off, the Astros swept the Rangers (who were in third place, behind Houston by 3.0 games), and Seattle entered this series trailing the division leaders by only one. In such a close competition for the AL West, every game matters.
Fortunately, the Mariners are second in the league in fewest runs allowed per game. The bullpen has contributed greatly, as they rank in the top four in wins above replacement, FIRP, and ERA. Success can still be achieved with a good beginning pitcher, which is why George Kirby is the one to keep an eye on this Friday.
Once this season, Kirby faced the Rays, and he limited them to only two hits and two runs over seven innings. Considering his 3.86 ERA on the road, this performance may not be as fruitful as his previous ones at the Trop. Kirby has allowed 22 hits and 11 runs in 14.2 innings across his last three road starts. Each time he faced the Tampa Bay lineup, he allowed a home run.
The Mariners entered this series with the second-best run defense in baseball, behind only the Tampa Bay Rays. Still, the Rays haven’t seen the kind of success they’d like to see just yet, as they’re 3.5 games behind Baltimore for the AL’s top record (and the AL East lead). There is no guarantee of improvement with rookie Taj Bradley set to make his first start.
In 3.1 innings of work against the Mariners in July, the right-hander rookie allowed nine hits and five runs. After a losing string of six straight starts dating back to June, Bradley didn’t return to the mound until September 3. That contest was against an inferior opponent’s offense and has no bearing on this one.
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Seattle Mariners vs Tampa Bay Rays Game Information
- Date: 09/08/2023
- Time: 06:40 PM ET
- Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
- How to Watch: Mariners vs Rays MLB.TV
- Live Stream: MLB.TV