Yovani Gallardo returned to the rotation yesterday, giving up 3 solo homers across 5 innings. Yet, in spite of his very Gallardo-like start, he left the game with a 4-3 lead, thanks to the Mariners finally doing some damage against a Yankees starter. That lead wouldn’t last much longer, as the bullpen – led by falling star James Pazos – gave up 3 runs in the sixth inning.
James Pazos has been quietly wretched for the last month. Over his last 9 appearances, he’s given up 13 runs (10 earned) in 6.0 innings. Obviously, the defense let him down in a couple of those games, but for the most part he’s been terrible, getting knocked around the park. I haven’t been watching him that closely, so I don’t know if he’s falling into hitter’s counts, or if they’re just jumping on him early, but either way I think it’s time that he starts to work through some of this in Tacoma, because he’s not doing us any favors up in Seattle right now.
One bright spot was another 3 shutout innings from Emilio Pagan to spare the rest of the bullpen. He has been absolutely fantastic since his atrocious first two appearances back in early May and it looks like he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
The big hullabaloo out of this game happened in the ninth inning, against closer Aroldis Chapman. Nelson Cruz smashed an infield single off the pitcher to lead off the inning, and was replaced by pinch runner Taylor Motter. Motter proceeded to immediately get picked off in just the worst, most lackadaisical way possible. Considering he’s been pretty awful since the league stopped feeding him fastballs on the inner half of the plate (and he’s never been able to adjust accordingly), during the game the Mariners signed utility infielder Danny Espinosa, which means Motter will be Tacoma-bound. As such, his getting picked off wasn’t necessarily the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it was a pretty inauspicious way to close out his tenure with the Big League club (at least, for the time being).
On top of that, with the way things shook out in the ninth, he cost us at least 1 run, and really changed the complexion of the inning. At worst, with Seager’s double, we would’ve had runners on 2nd & 3rd with no outs, which would’ve preceeded a run-scoring wild pitch. Of course, as it stands, we still had a runner on third with one out and couldn’t get him home, so maybe it wouldn’t have mattered at all. The point is, you want to see how guys react when confronted with such adversity, and Motter really let him off the hook.
Par for the course, though, if you’ve been following these Mariners. Their baserunning blunders are commonplace at this point; they did not leave with the trading away of Ketel Marte. Considering how veteran this team is, it’s VERY discouraging to see them make so many unforced errors, but what can you do?
That makes 3 of 4 lost to the Yankees, with the Red Sox coming to town for three games. And, don’t look now, but that’s Chris Sale going against Andrew Moore on Wednesday, meaning these first two games are practically Must Wins. Great.