After the nadir of losing two of three to the Oakland A’s at home (who, surprise surprise, are still in last place and among the very worst teams in all of baseball), the Mariners have won their last three series, all by exactly 2 games to 1. That was impressive when we were talking about the Astros … but it’s less thrilling when you’re talking about the Orioles and Rangers.
To their credit, the Orioles and Rangers are right around the same as the M’s (the Orioles are a couple games worse, the Rangers are a couple games better), but that’s the problem: neither team was supposed to be in our league heading into the season. Yet, here we are. We’ve made our bed and now we’re sleeping in it.
The Mariners have ground to make up, so it’s unsatisfying to have only picked up three games in the last 10 days. We’re still six games under .500, so at this rate the world will implode before the M’s are in any position to make the playoffs.
What’s slightly encouraging, I suppose, is the fact that the Mariners have kind of started looking like the M’s from 2021 a little bit more lately. Each of their last four games have been decided by 1 run, with the good guys winning 75% of ’em. The finale in Baltimore was a 10-inning thriller, and both victories in Arlington were of the come-from-behind variety.
Friday saw another excellent performance out of our REAL ace, Logan Gilbert (not that fraud of a bust in Robbie Ray). He gave up 2 runs (1 earned) in 6 innings, off 5 hits and a walk, with 7 strikeouts. At that point, it was the Eugenio Suarez throwing error that cost Gilbert a chance for the victory. The game was all tied after six innings, but a Rangers solo homer in the seventh put us in a hole that we took to the ninth.
Against who I am assuming is the Rangers’ closer, Suarez made up for his earlier gaffe by pushing a 2-run go-ahead homer to right for a 4-3 lead. From there, we were able to employ Paul Sewald for the traditional save (his third on the season). Suarez had 3 of the 4 runs driven in, with Cal Raleigh adding the other on a solo homer.
Saturday’s game was a boring, hard-luck loss by Marco Gonzales, who gave up just a 3-run homer in his 7 innings of work. He gets a little slack for the “one big inning” because he’s actually gone 7+ innings multiple times this year, plus he has a better track record – in Seattle – of being a successful Major League starting pitcher than Robbie Ray. It was hard-luck because the Mariners’ offense could only muster a 2-run homer by Jesse Winker (both events happened prior to the bottom of the fifth inning).
There just wasn’t a lot of offense in this one, as the M’s only had the four hits (though we did generate five walks). It’s weird seeing the Rangers being this effective at pitching, particularly in their (new) home ballpark. I’m used to the old ballpark, and all the 11-10 outcomes therein.
Sunday’s rubber match was another extra innings banger, with the Mariners overcoming a 3-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning. Suarez almost single-handedly carried the mail in this game, with a whopping 4 RBI. We were down 2-0 early, but in back-to-back innings Suarez tied it on a solo homer and a single (after some nifty baserunning by Julio Rodriguez). Then, after the bullpen tried to gag away the game, Ty France hit a solo homer before Suarez came right back with a 2-RBI double to score J-Rod and J.P. Crawford. Diego Castillo continued the roll he’s been on this road trip (for the win) and Sewald got his fourth save of the year.
George Kirby had a nice outing (even if he didn’t have super-electric stuff) going 6 innings in giving up just the 2 runs. Both were on solo homers, though, which will be something to monitor, I’m sure.
The road trip comes to a close with yet another series against the fucking Astros. If it feels like we’ve played them a ton so far, you’re right. After this series, we’ll have played them 12 times already, and we’re not even 60 games into the season. Thankfully, that means we only have to play them 7 more times in the second half.
Gotta keep the good momentum going here. Somehow, the M’s need to find a way to win 2 of 3 one more time. It’s nice that we’ve started to look like our 2021 selves a little bit more the last few games, but we’re going to need even more of that magic if we want to get out of this hole.