Unfortunately, my desire to create weekly Mariners updates had to come to a brief halt as I got sick. Almost too conveniently, the Mariners themselves also took this time to get sick and stop winning games. As of writing, they are fresh off a nine-game road trip, having won just two of them.
Having just gone 7-2 in their first homestand of the season, their road trip started with three games at Tampa Bay to face the Rays. The trip started off smoothly enough as the Mariners took an 8-4 victory to start the series, with Logan Gilbert lowering his ERA on the year to 0.40, the best in baseball at the time. Gilbert would go on to win the American League pitcher of the month of April, having just allowed one run in his first four starts. From there, things got sour.
Game two started about as poorly as possible, when Mariners’ starter Marco Gonzales was forced out of the game after a single out. He took a line drive off his throwing hand and the Mariners ended up relying on four arms out of the bullpen en route to the 3-2 loss. If that was perhaps too much offense for you, the Mariners would go on to waste a premiere Chris Flexen start the next day when they lost 2-1, and subsequently the series.
Hoping to put the series loss behind them, they moved south to face Miami for three games. Their woes continued as in the first game, rookie standout Matt Brash allowed six runs in two innings for his first truly bad outing of the year. The Mariners put up a solid fight behind four RBIs from Luis Torrens, but they would eventually falter 8-6. The next day should have been an easy win, with the Mariners placing their ace on the mound versus the lowest member of Miami’s rotation, but things were still not going as planned. A Dylan Moore homer in the third was the only run the Mariners could muster, and they would lose 3-1.
Seattle would somewhat redeem themselves in the third game, as Gilbert obtained his fourth win of the year, going 5.2 innings allowing just one run. The Mariners lit up opposing pitcher Sandy Alcantara for five runs, capped off by Julio Rodriguez’s first career home run, hopefully with many more to follow. Two more runs in the ninth gave the Mariners a 7-3 win and allowed them to exit the state of Florida having won two games in their last six.
From there, they had to face the Houston Astros for three more games, and that is where the despair set in. Gonzales was thankfully able to start in his next scheduled start, missing no time despite his injury pull a week earlier. He allowed three runs in six starts, but it didn’t matter when the Mariners failed to put up a single run. It was their third shutout loss of the year, and second against the Astros. In true Mariner fashion, that wasn’t upsetting enough. Flexen took the mound again the next day, allowing just one run in five innings. Seattle failed to score yet again.
In the seventh inning of game number three, the Mariners were eight outs away from being shut out for an entire series. However, Eugenio Suarez put some life into the Mariners’ offense with one swing of the bat, hitting his fourth home run of the year to put two runs up on the board for Seattle. While a dramatic telling of the story, it only cut the deficit to five and the Astros would win 7-2 to sweep the Mariners.
Things are, to put it lightly, not looking good. Jarred Kelenic hasn’t quite figured it out at the plate. Cal Raleigh had to be sent down due to his performance. Brash had two bad starts over the trip. Mitch Haniger came back from injury and then immediately left with another injury. This Mariners team absolutely has what it takes, but it’s hard to truly feel optimistic in the light of 20 consecutive years of disappointment. However, at 12-13, the Mariners still have over 130 games to go. Keep a special eye out for 2020 rookie of the year Kyle Lewis, who has been injured for over a year and is finally making rehab starts in Tacoma. His first at-bat was a home run, which is possibly the most hopeful news we’ve had all year. Up next is a seven-game homestand featuring four more against the Rays and a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.