The 2021 Seattle Mariners will take on the San Francisco Giants at T-Mobile Park to start the season.
After an improbable 2020 season where the full season was replaced by just 60 games, the fans were replaced with cardboard cutouts, and the Universal DH replaced pitchers hitting, 2021 brings hope for a "normal" baseball season.
For the 2021 Seattle Mariners and the San Francisco Giants, this may not be a "competitive" year, but it is vital in both teams’ rebuilding projects.
2021 Seattle Mariners: Team Preview
Seattle is starting to see the fruits of a rebuild several years in the making. With young stars in the line up such as the reigning American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis and Gold Glove award winners J.P. Crawford and Evan White, Seattle needs the young guys to take that next step to be a competitive team shortly.
San Francisco Giants: Team Preview
San Francisco is in a similar scenario where they have a lot of young talent starting to rise from the minors such as Joey Bart, and players that are finding their way such as Mike Yastrzemski. The team is also supplemented with strong veterans throughout the squad such as Johnny Cueto and Buster Posey.
Pitching Probable Matchups
RHP Kevin Gausman vs. LHP Marco Gonzales
The 2021 season starts with a battle of lefty against a righty. Marco Gonzales has shown steady progression for the Mariners ever since being traded away from St. Louis. Anchoring a young rotation, Gonzales will toe the rubber to start the 2021 season as the ace.
Gausman is an eight-year veteran who had a resurgence in the shortened 2020 season. After posting a 3.62 ERA last season, Gausman leads the rotation for San Francisco.
RHP Johnny Cueto vs. LHP James Paxton
The Big Maple returns to Seattle and is ready to pitch back in T-Mobile Park. One of the biggest free-agent signings by Seattle this offseason, Paxton adds a layer of legitimacy to a young Mariner rotation. Paxton has a lot to prove after having injury concerns his entire career.
Cueto has spent the last few years with the Giants and has seen his usability drop since signing with the team. The former Cincinnati Red is entering the 14th year in his career and has eclipsed 300 starts.
RHP Logan Webb vs RHP Chris Flexen
Flexen will be making his first start for Seattle after a stint in the KBO. In a six-man rotation with a lefty majority, Flexen is one of the only righties. While his pitching career with the Mets fell short of expectations, Seattle feels they may have unearthed a "gem" in signing Flexen.
Webb will start the season as the number three starter for the Giants in the midst of a disappointing 2020. In his second season, he finished with a 5.47 ERA over 13 games with 11 starts. San Francisco has high hopes for Webb going into 2021 as one of the young guns of the rotation.
Players to Watch
Seattle: Taylor Trammell
Trammell was acquired by Seattle last season in a trade with San Diego at the deadline. While he was a bit lost in the shuffle of all the Mariner outfielders, he shined during Spring Training and managed to impress enough to make the big league roster out of camp.
For the first series, Trammell will get his opportunity to show what he can do. More than likely, Trammell will be starting in a corner outfield position, He knows he is a surprise out of spring training, so his mentality will be to establish himself early. With that motivation, Trammell should start strong out of the gate.
San Francisco: Austin Slater
Slater had an impressive 2020 for the Giants setting highs in, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and OPS. After a 2019 season that saw Slater hit below .240, 2020 gave hope for the Giants outfielder.
In the first series, Slater needs to make noise in a Giants team that still is in a deep rebuild. The first series is a perfect time to make noise and Slater has the chance to do just that.
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