Reigning NL Champion Phillies Win Series Against M's, Onto Toronto

The M’s were in windy and cold Citizens Bank Park to face last season’s National League champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. After taking the series opener, Philly came back in the middle game and a pitcher’s duel on Sunday ended in a Phillies’ series win to start Seattle’s nine-game road trip. Here’s a brief look at the SEA vs PHI series, with updates on Robbie Ray, and more, starting with Tuesday’s opener in Philly.

Marco Gonzales took the bump in game one against the Phillies, looking to build off of his two prior strong starts, and once again he delivered.

This game was scoreless and forgive me if you have heard this one before, but Jarred Kelenic came through again. In by far his best month of his young career, JK said enough with the 0-0 standstill, and hit a home run off of lefty Bailey Falter. Against his former team, SS J.P. Crawford added one more on an RBI single to give Seattle a 2-0 lead in the top of the 5th.

Philly responded with one of their own in the next half inning on a solo home run by Edmundo Sosa. This was the end of the day for Marco, who like I said, delivered in his third straight start: five innings, one earned and two strikeouts.

Teoscar Hernandez has also had a very good last couple of weeks at the dish. He laced a hanging breaking ball into the left field seats, which scored Eugenio Suarez as well, giving the M’s a 4-1 lead.

Seattle Mariners v Philadelphia Phillies

Teoscar Hernandez's two-run homer Tuesday night was his seventh on the young season. This one gave Seattle a 4-1 lead. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Even though the Phillies were able to add a few in the later innings, a Jose Caballero sacrifice fly was enough to cushion the lead, and Paul Sewald was able to come in for his 7th save of the season, as Seattle took the opener against Philly 5-3. Marco improved his record to 2-0, and his ERA after four starts now sits at 3.32.

Prior to the start of Wednesday’s game, the M’s were hit with some tough news regarding starter Robbie Ray, who was shut down for the season, as he will be undergoing surgery to repair his left flexor tendon, after just one start in 2023. Now the questions arise for the fifth starting role… Emerson Hancock? Bryce Miller? Stay with struggling Chris Flexen?

A cold and rainy day in Philadelphia featured Seattle’s Logan Gilbert against Philly’s (and ex-Mariner) Taijuan Walker.

Nick Castellanos had himself quite the day, and he gave the Phillies an early lead on a two-run home run in the first inning off of Glibert. In the next half inning, the Seattle bats heated up a cold and rainy Citizens Bank Park.

Former-Phil J.P. Crawford smashed his second career grand slam deep over the out-of-town scoreboard. This gave the M’s a 4-2 lead… until five pitches later, where Julio Rodriguez went yard, going back-to-back with J.P., and stretched lead to three over Philly and Taijuan Walker.

Seattle Mariners v Philadelphia Phillies

J.P. Crawfors sports the "Swelmet" and holds onto the trident after his grand slam Wednesday night against his former club. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Philadelphia was able to scratch back a few runs off of Gilbert on RBI singles by Kyle Schwarber and Castellanos. Logan’s day was done after five innings, allowing four earned runs, striking out six. But after Gilbert was done, Philly unfortunately was not.

Justin Topa allowed four consecutive hits in the home 8th, and two were RBI singles, with one coming from catcher J.T. Realmuto and the other from 1B Alec Bohm giving Philly a one-run lead. In their last chance, Seattle was able to get a runner in scoring position thanks to a J.P. Crawford double, but Julio came up empty, and struck out swinging to end the game. The Phillies won Wednesday’s back-and-fourth battle 6-5.

Game three was second-year starter George Kirby up against Philadelphia’s Matt Strahm.

Philly again got on the board first in the bottom of the 2nd, thanks to a Kody Clemens RBI single that scored Castellanos. Strahm was shredding the M’s apart with his wicked left-handed motion through 60 pitches but had to exit due to injury, which was a shame because him and Kirby were dueling today.

Final pitching lines on Thursday:

  • Kirby: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB
  • Strahm: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 K

The Phillies' pen followed Strahm’s strong start with three plus shutdown innings, and Craig Kimbrel earned his second save in consecutive nights. Philly took the finale 1-0, and the series 2-1.

The M’s travel northwest from to Toronto to face off against the Blue Jays for three games over the weekend starting tomorrow at 4:07 PM locally.

On Friday, it’ll be a rematch of the American League Wild Card game one from last season, with Luis Castillo (2-0, 1.52 ERA) against Toronto’s Alek Manoah (1-1, 5.13 ERA). Chris Flexen (0-4, 8.86 ERA) is lined up to pitch for Seattle on Saturday, and Marco Gonzales (2-0, 3.32 ERA) will get the nod for the M’s Sunday. Starters for Toronto on Saturday and Sunday are TBD at this time.

AL West Standings as of Thursday afternoon:

  • 1.Texas Rangers (14-10)
  • 2.Houston Astros (14-11)
  • 3.Los Angeles Angels (13-12)
  • 4.Seattle Mariners (11-14)
  • 5.Oakland Athletics (5-20)

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