Seattle Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox Pick & Prediction MARCH 30th 2024

The Seattle Mariners’ offense was supposed to be different this season.

But entering the third contest of a four-game home series against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, it’s looking strikingly similar to 2023, when the Mariners missed a wild-card playoff berth by one game.

Friday night, the Mariners managed just four hits and struck out 14 times. Yet thanks to 6 2/3 scoreless innings from George Kirby and a solo homer by J.P. Crawford, they pulled out a 1-0 victory to even the series at a game apiece.

Crawford went deep off Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta with one out in the sixth inning. It was only one of three hits allowed by Pivetta, who didn’t walk a batter and struck out 10.

“(Pivetta) had us off-balance all night,” Crawford said. “Thankfully, he just left one kind of middle of the plate and I got a barrel to it.”

Of the Mariners’ five runs through the first two games, all have come via homers, with Mitch Haniger and Dylan Moore hitting two-run shots in 6-4 loss in Thursday’s opener.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way after strikeout-prone sluggers Eugenio Suarez and Jarred Kelenic were traded in the offseason and Teoscar Hernandez wasn’t re-signed.

The Mariners were going to rely on more contact and manufacture more runs, not wait for a three-run homer.

Designated hitter Mitch Garver, signed away from the World Series champion Texas Rangers as a free agent, called Seattle’s offense “ruthless” after it averaged a majors-leading 6.3 runs during spring training.

“Toward the end of spring training, we kind of found our groove and we started to develop an identity, and that identity is we’ve got to be a ruthless lineup that (has) a 9-on-1 mentality,” said Garver, who was a late scratch from the lineup Friday because of back spasms. “We’re out there to attack the pitchers, get into the bullpen as soon as possible, try to get on base and create havoc.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais called the lineup the deepest he’s had in nine seasons with the team.

“We have stressed with our hitters the ability to get the ball in play and having a really good two-strike approach and understanding to dictate your terms of your at-bat — eliminate pitches, eliminate zones, all those other things that have really helped our guys,” Servais said. “So we’ll see how it all plays out.”

The Red Sox were also missing a key bat Friday as Rafael Devers, who went 2 for 5 with a double, home run and two RBIs in the opener, was held out because of left shoulder soreness.

Pivetta gave the Red Sox a second strong start after Brayan Bello gave up two runs in five innings Thursday.

“If we get three more starts of five (innings) or more, if we do that we’re going to have a chance to win a lot of ballgames,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of his rotaton.

Boston right-hander Kutter Crawford (6-8, 4.04 ERA last season) will attempt to accomplish that feat Saturday when he takes the mound opposing Mariners righty Logan Gilbert (13-7, 3.73).

Crawford is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career starts against the M’s spanning 10 innings; Gilbert is 0-0, 3.79 in three previous starts vs. the Red Sox.

–Field Level Media

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