After going on an eight-game winning streak, the Mariners have now dropped three in a row after last night’s exciting game with the Royals. As they look to get back into the win column tonight, we’ll preview the second game of the series before going over which side I’ll be backing.
Fans who tuned into the first game of this series between the Mariners and Royals were treated to quite a show last night. The game included an inside-the-park home run by Bobby Witt Jr., a no-hitter into the 7th inning, and a walk-off bunt, all three of which were completed by the Royals. Starter Brady Singer had his best stuff on the mound, and he stimied the Mariners' offense until the seventh inning when Seattle picked up their first hit.
That single would flip the momentum entirely and result in the Mariners storming back from a 5-0 deficit and taking a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th. However, Magic seemed to be in the Kansas City air as a Salvador Perez sacrifice fly would tie the game, and a Dairon Blanco bunt single walked the game off with a 7-6 Royals win.
Now the Royals will turn to Jordan Lyles to make his 23rd start tonight. While the team has ended their losing streak in games in which he starts, the right-hander is still struggling, allowing three or more earned runs in four of his last five starts. Lyles will face a Mariners offense tonight that picked up seven hits in three innings last night after being shut out. Julio Rodriguez led the way with two of those hits while driving in four of the team's six runs.
As they look to bounce back from yesterday’s wild loss and find the win column for the first time in three games, the Mariners will have young right-hander Emerson Hancock on the mound. Hancock will be making just his second start in the big leagues, as he made his MLB debut on August 9th against the Padres and pitched five innings with three strikeouts and one earned run allowed.
The Seattle Mariners can be found at (-140) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play. While the complete 180 of the Royals' offense has been one of the more impressive stories during the second half of the season, tonight, they will have to face a rookie starter none of them have seen before at this level while they roll out arguably one of the worst starters in the league.
Entering tonight, Jordan Lyles is in the 21st percentile in xBA, 20th percentile in xERA/xwOBA, and 12th percentile in xSLG. The right-hander also has a 5.10 FIP at home and now has to face a Mariners lineup that ranks 7th in OPS, wRC+, and wOBA against right-handed pitching on the road. That same Mariners lineup also faces a Royals bullpen with the highest xFIP (5.18) in the league over the past month.
In just one start, Emerson Hancock showed a solid four-pitch mix that warranted a 64.3% groundball percentage in his first outing. While that percentage will be hard to maintain, I think Hancock can get a lot of weak contact from the Royals’ offense. When Hancock is taken out, he will hand the ball to a Mariners bullpen that has the league's lowest ERA (2.77) and xFIP (3.40) over the past month.
Seattle Mariners (-140)