If there is a season played in its entirety this year, the Mariners will have a tough road ahead of them. The West divisions of the American and National Leagues are two of the toughest groups of teams Major League Baseball has to offer, including two of the sport’s elite organizations in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
In 2019, a year in which they also faced the National League West, the Mariners went 28-52 against these nine teams with 18 of those losses coming at the hands of the Astros.
Earlier today, MLB Network unveiled the re-done 2020 schedule for all teams. After finding out who the Mariners would face on Opening Day, it took quite a while to learn how the rest of their schedule would shake out. Now that we have the schedule in hand, let’s take a look at some of the more noteworthy series on the docket.
JULY 24 – 27: MARINERS @ ASTROS
Unfortunately for Seattle, they’ll be thrown in the deep end right out of the gate. Set to open the season at Minute Maid Park in Houston on July 24, the Mariners will be the first team to face the Astros in a real game since their sign-stealing scandal went public. While Marco Gonzales has said the best course of action may be to simply ‘try and beat them,’ it’ll be interesting to see if the M’s dole out some punishment of their own during the series.
But while we know there won’t be any trash can banging of any kind this time around – especially with a lack of fans in the crowd – the Astros are still an insanely talented team. With limited live at-bats leading up to the start of the season, Mariners hitters will be tasked with facing Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke right from the jump. Sheesh.
JULY 31 – AUGUST 3: ATHLETICS @ MARINERS
The Mariners will finally – hopefully – play their home opener on the last day of the month following their seven-game road trip to start the campaign. This series, just like the season opener, is a doozy.
Matt Chapman and the Oakland Athletics are legitimate division contenders, especially in a shortened season, and should, on paper, handle Seattle rather easily. However, it should be noted that, despite going 97-65, the A’s actually lost their season series against the Mariners by a record of 9-10 last year.
If the Mariners are somehow able to get off to one of their patented fast starts, this could be the series that determines whether or not they could actually make the 2020 season a bit more interesting than just a development year. I wouldn’t get my hopes up, but baseball’s also weird as hell, so who knows.
AUGUST 10 – 12: MARINERS @ RANGERS
The Texas Rangers’ brand-new ballpark has been widely shat upon for its toaster-like appearance on social media. But momma said don’t judge a book by its cover and that couldn’t ring any more true here because Globe Life Field is pretty damn impressive on the inside.
On August 10, the Mariners will finally get to see the park up close and personal. Kyle Seager, a career .301/.365/.536 hitter with 15 home runs and 56 RBIs in Arlington, may be saddened by a change of scenery, but could ultimately find himself a new playground on a similarly laid out field to that of the old Globe Life Park.
AUGUST 17 – 20: MARINERS @/vs. DODGERS
In this pseudo four-game set, the Mariners will travel to Dodger Stadium to face the World Series favorite Los Angeles Dodgers for two games, then head back to Seattle for another pair of games. Considering the amount of talent the Dodgers boast on their roster, it’s hard to imagine Seattle winning any of these matchups, though the series could potentially present a milestone for the Mariners’ organization.
If it doesn’t happen sooner, this could be the series in which Logan Gilbert makes his Major League debut. While I significantly doubt the Mariners would actually overwhelm Gilbert with the enormously tall task of debuting against the Dodgers of all teams, this series would fall roughly in line with the timeline Colby laid out in his article about Gilbert this past weekend. At the very least, this should be the date range to expect the arrival of Seattle’s promising young righty.
SEPTEMBER 15 – 16: GIANTS @ MARINERS
This is less about the particular matchup and more about another arrival of one of Seattle’s top prospects; this time, Jarred Kelenic. It could happen on the road trip prior to this series, or even right after the August 31 trade deadline, but this feels like a good spot in the schedule to get him some quality action to finish off the season while not rushing him.
The Mariners’ playoff hopes – as if there are any – should be all but dashed by this point, so what do they have to lose? In my mind, the only hurdle in Kelenic’s way from making his debut this season – and it’s a significant one – is the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to reach this date; if so, this could be one of the more key moments in the Mariners’ rebuild.