Cubs vs. Mariners: Series Thread (Games 9-11)
The Cubs took two out of three from the Rangers to even their record at 4-4. They'll next greet the 4-6 Seattle Mariners for a three, game set at Wrigley. They'll have a day off on Thursday before embarking on a trip to the West Coast to face the Dodgers and the Athletics. See below for the daily matchups.
Game 9: Monday, April 10, 6:40 pm central
SEA: RHP Luis Castillo (1-0, 0.00)
CHC: LHP Drew Smyly (0-1, 11.57)
Castillo has been dominant to start the season for the Mariners. He's allowed only three hits and two walks while striking out 12 in 11.2 innings pitched. He's been fastball heavy so far--perhaps because he simply hasn't needed his secondary offerings very much.
Smyly got knocked around to the tune of 9 hits in only 4.2 innings pitched in Cincinnati. He'll have to show some veteran craftiness against the Mariners lineup, given that all their top offensive performers (so far) will enjoy the platoon advantage.
Game 10: Tuesday, April 11, 6:40 pm central
SEA: RHP Chris Flexen (0-1, 3.00)
CHC: RHP Hayden Wesneski (0-0, 5.79)
Flexen made his MBL debut with the Mets back in 2017. After spending 2020 in the KBO, Flexen joined the Mariners and posted a career best WAR while making 31 starts. He misses few bats, though, and generally posts unremarkable ground ball rates. Early on he's walked 5 in only 9 innings, a trend he'll have to correct to remain a big league starter.
Wesneski looked overly amped in his first start, working very quickly, showing frustration with the strike zone, and eventually getting tagged for two homeruns. If he can settle in and hit his spots a little more often, he should be able to set up his nasty slider more effectively.
Game 11: Wednesday, April 12, 1:20 pm central
SEA: RHP Logan Gilbert (0-1, 3.60)
CHC: RHP Marcus Stroman (2-0, 0.00)
The Mariners selected Gilbert 14th overall in 2018. He's already in his 3rd MLB season and looks to be a mainstay of their rotation. The righty features a mid-90s fastball and plus-plus command.
Stroman has been stellar in his first two starts. He's earned two wins and held opponents scoreless in 12.0 innings pitched. Both his strikeout and walk rates are above his norms, but he's continued to elicit contact on the ground when batters are able to connect. I don't know if he's made use of the grip he had Wesneski show him in Spring Training, but Stroman has thrown his slider over 30% of the time so far and it has looked sharp.