And 6 of 7 in the season series!
The game on Thursday saw the Rays creep back into it late before the Mariners slammed the door. How would the rest of the weekend look?
Pretty much as expected, all things considered. Marco Gonzales took the hill on Friday and continued this streak of greatness he’s been on. He advanced his career high in innings pitched – this time going 7.1 innings of 2-run ball – before giving way to the bullpen. We put up 4 runs thanks to some solid small ball. Daniel Vogelbach returned – and had an RBI single – as the Mariners had to put Nicasio and Altavilla on the DL (Nicasio with a minor knee issue; Altavilla with what looks to be a serious arm thing that might keep him out for an extended period of time). Jean Segura had another hit to bring his average to .340, second in the American League at the time. And, Mitch Haniger drove in the other two runs as he continued his push to be an All Star. Alex Colome got one out in the 8th, but ended up allowing the Rays to once again pull within 1 run, necessitating Edwin Diaz needing to get a 4-out save. He did his job to get his 22nd save on the season.
Saturday was a rematch of the previous week’s duel of Felix vs. Snell; this time, it was a collosal bummer. Felix struggled through 3 innings, giving up 6 runs; and while Roenis Elias was able to limit the damage in his 4 innings of work, giving up just 1 run, the offense couldn’t quite chip away at the deficit (going 0 or 11 with RISP). So, we lost by a score of 7-3. Newcomer Mike Morin joined the relief corps; he hasn’t had a good season at the Major League level since 2014, but he ended up striking out 2 in his scoreless inning of work, so we’ll see how he does in Nicasio’s absence. He obviously won’t be thrust into an 8th inning role, but that’s neither here nor there.
The Mariners bounced right back on Sunday. James Paxton struggled a bit (for him), but still went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs and striking out 10. Pazos let a runner get on in his 0.1 innings of work, who would eventually come around to score with Alex Colome on the mound (he would let all three victories get to within 1 run, just to make things interesting against his old club). Nevertheless, Edwin Diaz got his 23rd save of the season, thanks to some suspect baserunning from the Rays, making the final, baffling out at home plate. Cruz, Zunino, and Seager all homered to account for the 5 runs the M’s scored.
We now sit atop the A.L. West with the Houston Astros (1 game better in the loss column, 1 game worse in the win column), 4.5 games up on the Angels, who come to town for a 3-game series starting tonight. They just saw their prized offseason acquisition – Shohei Ohtani – go on the DL (with a chance he might need Tommy John surgery and not return until the 2020 season), so things are going pretty poorly down in Anaheim. With the Mariners flying high – and Felix not set to start until the Boston series – now is the perfect time to pounce on our greatest rivals for that 2nd wild card spot (while hopefully keeping the Astros at bay for the division). It’s sad that we have to start dreading every Felix start, but that’s apparently the world in which we live.
We’re officially entering the teeth of the schedule: 3 vs. the Angels, 3 vs. the Yankees, and 7 vs. the Red Sox (4 at home before an East Coast road trip next week). After some cupcakes, we’ll face the Angels 6 more times before the All Star Break, so it’s time for the Mariners to play their very best!