Minnesota will be looking to continue its nice start to the season when it hosts Seattle in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. The Mariners have not strung together consecutive wins yet this season and came up well short in Thursday’s series opener. They played again on Saturday afternoon, but this story was published prior to that game.
Mariners struggling at the plateSeattle opened the season with a thrilling 8-7 win over San Francisco in 10 innings. The Mariners added a 4-0 win in the series finale to win two out of three to start the year. They lost two of three to the White Sox earlier this week, though, and were no match for the Twins in a 10-2 final on Thursday. Minnesota out-hit Seattle by a tally of 16-7 in its first home game with fans since 2019. Seattle got a home run from first baseman Jose Marmolejos in the loss. The Mariners have struggled offensively, coming into Saturday’s game at No. 21 in the MLB with a team batting average of .209.
Friday vibes. pic.twitter.com/FKxb69PuAb— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 10, 2021
They are going to be facing a Minnesota pitching staff that has been magnificent. The Twins are third in the MLB with a team ERA of 2.12, trailing only the Yankees and Padres. Third baseman Ty France leads Seattle with nine hits in 26 at-bats. Right fielder Mitch Haniger has added eight hits, including a homer. Right-handed pitcher Chris Flexen is expected to start for the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. He threw 94 pitches in five scoreless innings to open the season. It was his first start back in the MLB after spending last year in the Korean Baseball Organization. Flexen notched his first win since 2017.
Twins off to hot startMinnesota opened the season with a heartbreaking loss to Milwaukee in 10 innings. The Twins bounced back with a pair of wins over the Brewers to take the series. They traveled to Detroit for their second series of the season, winning two out of three. Their lone loss in that series also came in extra innings, as the Tigers won 4-3 in 10 innings on Tuesday. Minnesota opened the series with Seattle on Thursday, picking up a 10-2 win over the Mariners. The Twins rank fourth in the MLB in batting average at .278.
They are going to face a Seattle pitching staff that is No. 26 in the MLB with a team ERA of 5.71. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz and shortstop Andrelton Simmons are tied for the team-high in hits with nine each. Cruz has blasted three home runs through his first seven games. Center fielder Byron Buxton and second baseman Luis Arraez both have eight hits. Right-handed pitcher Matt Shoemaker was excellent in his Twins debut, holding Detroit hitless through the first four innings. He ended up allowing just one run across six innings. Shoemaker has faced the Mariners more than any team outside of the Athletics in his career.
- 7-1 in its last eight games during game three of a series
- 5-1 in its last six games
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I am not sold on Flexen after his nice start to open the season. He had not won a game in the MLB since 2017, so his win needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Minnesota has been one of the best teams in the MLB so far this year. The Twins have a powerful lineup led by Cruz and Simmons. Flexen is going to be in for a rude awakening in a cold-weather game on Sunday. Shoemaker was outstanding in his Twins debut and will be confident with all the run support that Minnesota’s pitchers have been receiving.
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I am expecting both starting pitchers to regress to the mean on Sunday afternoon. Flexen is one of the lowest-ranked starters in the MLB and is having to face a lineup that is among the best in the MLB. Shoemaker is an average starting pitcher who had a nice start to the season, but that came against the Tigers. Seattle has enough decent bats to scratch some runs across and get this game over the number. The Mariners have gone over at a 4-1-1 clip in their last six games against a right-handed starter.