Cleveland Guardians vs Seattle Mariners (8/25/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

The Guardians just went into San Diego on a two-game interleague road trip and swept the Juan Soto-reinforced Padres. They have now built a 3.5-game lead in the AL Central and look poised to make the Postseason.

Now, they’ll turn to an up-and-coming star in Triston McKenzie to pick up their fourth win in five games. All they have to do is get through Marco Gonzales and the Pacific Northwest’s baseball squad.

Honestly, it seems too easy.

Let’s dive into the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Thursday’s matchup.

Cleveland Guardians vs Seattle Mariners Odds

This line actually feels low.

I have almost no trust in Gonzales as a starting pitcher and McKenzie has shoved over the past month.

To be fair, it’s tough to play in Seattle. So, we need to put a little respect on the Mariners’ name, especially since they’re 30-15 since the calendar flipped to July.

Let’s dig into this game a little bit deeper.

Cleveland Guardians Starting Lineup

LF S. Kwan L
SS A. Rosario R
3B J. Ramirez S
RF O. Gonzalez R
DH J. Naylor L
1B O. Miller R
2B A. Gimenez L
C A. Hedges R
CF M. Straw R

Cleveland Guardians vs Marco Gonzales

I think Gonzales is one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball. While his batted ball statistics aren’t horrific, he ranks below the 15th percentile of qualified starting pitchers in:

  • xERA
  • xwOBA
  • xBA
  • xSLG
  • Strikeout rate
  • Whiff rate
  • Fastball velocity
  • Fastball spin rate
  • Curveball spin rate

Gonzales is a soft-tossing southpaw who has done relatively well to limit hard contact, but he just doesn’t have the stuff to be effective in the Majors, especially when he relies on a four-seamer rather than a sinker or cutter.

It’s amazing he’s managed to keep his ERA close to 4.00, but that’s helped by a .288 BABIP. His xERA is 4.88 and his FIP is over 5.00.

The Guardians have a number of weapons, headlined by Jose Ramirez’s 100 RBIs and league-leading 37 doubles. But overall, this offense doesn’t hit the ball hard enough to strike fear into opposing pitchers.

Gonzales definitely shouldn’t be scared of Cleveland. The Guardians have the second-lowest wRC+ against southpaws on the season and the seventh-lowest Weighted Fastball Runs Created – although both numbers have slightly risen as the season has progressed.

Seattle Mariners Starting Lineup

CF J. Rodriguez R
1B T. France R
LF J. Winker L
DH M. Haniger R
3B E. Suarez R
2B A. Frazier L
C C. Raleigh S
SS J. Crawford L
RF S. Haggerty S

Seattle Mariners vs Triston McKenzie

Don’t look now, but McKenzie is turning into an ace.

He’s pitched a whopping 21 ⅔ innings over the last three starts while allowing just four earned runs. He just pitched seven two-run innings against the White Sox while striking out 14 and walking none.

McKenzie’s never had great batted-ball statistics, but he’s the exact opposite pitcher that Gonzales is. I.e., McKenzie’s stuff is nasty. The Whiff rate on his slider is north of 25% while the Whiff rate on his curveball is north of 45%.

McKenzie consistently forces chases with that curveball, but the chase rates on his other two pitches have risen significantly in recent starts. That no doubt led to an increase in strikeouts.

chart 2022 08 24T143537.550

Image credit: Baseball Savant

The Mariners don’t chase often, but they do strike out at an above-average rate against RHPs (22.8%). When they do chase, they don’t make much contact, having the eighth-lowest chase contact rate in the Majors this season (55.9%).

More importantly, the Mariners haven’t been hitting much lately. They have just a 95 wRC+ against righties over the past month, although that number has jumped in recent weeks thanks to double-digit runs against the A’s and Angels.

Cleveland Guardians vs Seattle Mariners Pick & Prediction

My picks: Cleveland Guardians ML (-120 at Fox Bet Sportsbook)

This line should be closer to -150.

The Mariners have the better lineup, but Seattle has just a 95 wRC+ over the past month. So that advantage is mostly negated, especially when guys like Ramirez and Andres Gimenez are playing so well.

Seattle ranks top-10 in both Defensive Runs Saved and reliever xFIP. But the Guardians lead the league in reliever xFIP – behind superstar closer Emmanuel Clase – and rank top-five in Defensive Runs Saved.

And the starting pitching disparity between McKenzie and Gonzales is massive. I don’t know why the Mariners continue to trot McKenzie out every five days.

I love the red-hot Guardians in this matchup, even as a road favorite, and will happily play them up to -135.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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