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PRO RECAP: M's remain steady, Storm find groove

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | June 21, 2023 4:04 PM

SEATTLE – As the Seattle Mariners approach the halfway point of the 2023 season, the Seattle Storm have started to string together wins after beginning their 2023 campaign with four-straight losses

Mariners

Winning two of three games over the Chicago White Sox evened the Mariners’ record at 35-35, though the Mariners still find themselves in fourth place of the AL West with under three weeks remaining until the All-Star break.

The alternating of wins and losses can be directed to the batter’s box, where Seattle posts the fourth-lowest batting average in the majors (.229), second-fewest hits (535) and the fourth-most strikeouts (682).

On the mound, Seattle’s Luis Castillo and George Kirby check in inside the top 20 of the lowest earned run average as of Tuesday, with the pitching staff as a whole combining for the 10th-lowest ERA in the majors. Seattle has also surrendered the sixth-fewest hits (572) and fewest home runs (66) this season.

June didn’t have a friendly start for Seattle, who was swept in a three-game series against the division-leading Texas Rangers by scores of 2-0, 16-6 and 12-3. The Mariners lost six of their first eight games to begin June, including dropping a series to the Angels. Against non-Oakland AL West opponents, the Mariners have a 5-10 record in AL West games through their first 70 games of the season (2-1 vs. Houston; 2-4 vs. LAA; 1-5 vs. Texas). Seattle has won all seven of their games against the 19-56 Athletics.

Looking ahead, five of Seattle’s next six opponents before the All-Star break all stand with winning records. They began a road trip against the Yankees (39-33) and the Orioles (44-27) this week before returning home to host the Washington Nationals (27-44) on June 26 and AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (51-24) on June 30. To close out the first half of the season, Seattle goes on a road trip to San Francisco (40-32) on July 3 and Houston (39-34) on July 6.

Storm

Since beginning the season 0-4, the Seattle Storm have started to find their groove to go 3-4 over their past seven games.

Seattle’s first win of the season came in exciting fashion, a 21-point come-from-behind victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on June 6. Jewell Lloyd’s 25 points led all scorers in the win, 24 of which came in the second and third quarters that helped erase LA’s early 27-6 lead.

Back-to-back losses to the Washington Mystics followed the Storm’s win over the Sparks, but an 83-69 win over the Phoenix Mercury – surged by 12 made three-pointers – gave Seattle its second win of the year. In a matchup against the Las Vegas Aces, a rematch of last year’s playoff semifinals, Seattle suffered a 96-63 setback where Las Vegas shot 46.2% from three.

Lloyd’s career-high 39 points helped lead the Storm 109-103 past the Dallas Wings this past weekend, but Seattle fell 85-79 to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday. Connecticut outscored Seattle 22-8 in the third period.

The Storm’s 77 points per game are the second-fewest in the WNBA, contributed to by a league-low in assists per game (16) and 75.9 free throw percentage. They are one of three teams to average more than eight three-pointers per game, shooting 34.6% from beyond the arc.

While the record stands at 3-8 to begin the season, Seattle has a chance to carve out some wins as four of their next games will be played at home. To close out the week, the Storm play host to Indiana on Thursday and Phoenix on Saturday.

photo

AP PHOTO/JOHN MINCHILLO

The Seattle Mariners have hovered around a .500 winning percentage so far this season, standing at 35-35 ahead of this week’s road series against the New York Yankees.