The Mariners will play in the AL Division Series with the same lineup they used to advance through the AL Wild Card round. Although it wasn’t as straightforward as “if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it,” the club released its 26-man roster before of Game 1, which included 12 pitchers and 14 position players.
Given the peculiar nature of this best-of-five round’s schedule, which includes an off day on Wednesday between Games 1 and 2 and then no off days for the remainder of the series, the Mariners thought about making modifications to their pitching staff.
The Mariners manager Scott Servais said, “We just felt [happy] where we’re at — with this series being a little bit different with the off-days. “And after that, we don’t play three straight days here; instead, we take a day off. Therefore, the additional off days contributed to our decision to stick with 14 position players and 12 pitchers.
The other odd choice was leaving out Chris Flexen, who had the greatest regular-season record versus the Astros of any starter from Seattle with a 2.70 ERA in five appearances while limiting them to a.202/.285/.312 (.597 OPS) slash line. But in early August, as the Mariners acquired Luis Castillo before the Trade Deadline, Flexen’s position changed to the bullpen.
The Mariners decided to keep their relievers intact for those situations since Flexen would likely have only been used in games where they were trailing because they are used to throwing under pressure.
Flexen, a member of the taxi squad, dragged out his final regular-season appearance to four innings during a shortened doubleheader start, but he was undoubtedly taxed in the latter stages. At the time, Marco Gonzales was the other candidate to be sent to the bullpen, but the Mariners felt his stuff didn’t perform as well in relief, so their reasoning wouldn’t change now that the season was at stake.
The Mariners are carrying a third catcher in case Cal Raleigh’s painful left thumb flares up, so adding a pitcher would have required removing one of the team’s position players, either an outfielder (which would have reduced the Mariners to three players) or an outfielder. So, despite the fact that everything here appears to be the same as their two-game AL Wild Card Series sweep, more careful consideration went into the choices than might first appear.
Servais remarked, “We were definitely considering everyone who has been a part of our club all year long and trying to put the best roster together regardless of how all the parts fit.” “We talked about a lot of various subjects.”
Here is the Mariners’ complete ALDS roster:
Catchers: Curt Casali, Cal Raleigh, Luis Torrens
First base: Ty France, Carlos Santana
Second base: Adam Frazier
Shortstop: J.P. Crawford
Third base: Eugenio Suárez
Utility: Dylan Moore, Abraham Toro
Outfielders: Mitch Haniger, Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodríguez, Taylor Trammell
Starting pitchers: Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby
Relief pitchers: Matthew Boyd, Matt Brash, Diego Castillo, Matt Festa, Andrés Muñoz, Penn Murfee, Paul Sewald, Erik Swanson
Photo Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/