Season Picking Up for Mariners Back at Home

Photo by Jordan Rowland from Unsplash.

Is there a better feeling than dominating in your first home games of the season? The Mariners no longer have to theorize about it as they bounced back from a rough 2-4 first week by winning five of their last six games. The final game in Chicago went well, with three home runs by Jarred Kelenic, and Cal Raleigh and Mitch Haniger supplementing five strong innings by Logan Gilbert to salvage a 5-1 victory to end the series before returning to T-Mobile Park for the first home games of the year.

It was the reigning American League West champion team, the Houston Astros, who came to town first, but they were not prepared for what the Mariners could offer. Marco Gonzales spun a gem in his first home start of the year, going seven innings allowing just one run, striking out six and walking none. On the other side of the ball, things went just as grand. The Mariners generated 11 runs of offense, with eight of nine members of the lineup scoring a hit (sorry, Kelenic). It was Adam Frazier’s four-hit, four-RBI showing and Eugenio Suarez’s second home run of the season that propelled the Mariners to an even 4-4 record.

If everything went right in game one, it went wrong in game two. Chris Flexen threw a quality start, allowing just three earned runs in six innings, but he still brought home the loss as Justin Verlander took the mound with unparalleled dominance. The former MVP threw eight scoreless innings in just 87 pitches, striking out eight batters and allowing just three hits. The Mariners went down quietly 4-0, but fortunately, it ended up being more of Verlander’s prowess than any lack of talent on the Seattle side.

The Mariners didn’t roll over and concede after the beating they took, but instead came out of the gates swinging in the series finale. Matt Brash on the mound allowed just two runs over 5.1 innings, while the offense put up seven runs of support to give him his first career win. A five-run fourth inning was capped off by a three-run home run by Ty France, giving the Mariners the series win at home before their first day off this season.

After a well-earned break, the Texas Rangers came to town, sporting a 2-7 record despite spending half a billion dollars on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in the offseason. They both recorded hits, but the rest of their offense couldn’t muster much else as the Mariners would win 6-2. Robbie Ray earned his second win of the season, throwing six strong innings and letting the offense carry him to victory. Suarez and Kelenic homered again, joined this time by Abraham Toro, who got his first of the year off Spencer Patton in the seventh inning.

Gilbert took to the mound in their final start of the week, and he absolutely delivered. He put together 6.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts in a dazzling display in his first home start this year. The offense, while somewhat unlucky, still put together a reliable showing. They scored four runs on nine hits, with Frazier and Toro each reaching base four times. Despite a rough ninth inning for Diego Castillo that allowed the Rangers to get two runs on the board, the Mariners still won 4-2. They earned a series win with the chance for the sweep when Marco took the mound for the second time this homestand.

Everything’s coming up great for the Mariners. Frazier has 11 hits in the last five games. Jesse Winker leads the American League in walks. Gilbert has the lowest ERA in baseball. This team is firing on all cylinders, although a slight speed bump awaits in the form of a minor COVID-19 outbreak. Haniger has missed time, with Paul Sewald recently being sent to the Injured List as well. Providing this doesn’t spiral into something massive, the Mariners seem primed to continue winning games. This next week, they finish their series against the Rangers before capping off their homestand with three games against the Kansas City Royals. After that, they take to the road to play three games in Tampa Bay against the Rays.