After returning home from a 2-4 East coast road trip, the M’s welcomed in the struggling Washington Nationals for a “get-right” series, before welcoming in the MLB-leading Tampa Bay Rays. It looked like the series would go Seattle’s way after Monday night’s four-run victory, and then the Mariners went back to being the Mariners. Extremely poor late-game offensive execution on Tuesday and an all-around weak performance on Wednesday led to another series loss. They’ll have to play better than their best coming up with Tampa in town, and then stopping in San Francisco and Houston before hosting the All-Star Game in just nine days. Here’s a look back on how it all went down versus the 2019 World Series champions.
Luis Castillo, looking for his first win as a starter since the end of May despite a sub-three ERA, was on the bump Monday night. He was up against Nat’s starter Trevor Williams, who had just shut out the Cardinals in his last start.
Fireworks early as both the leadoff batters on each team went yard in their first at-bat of the ballgame. Lane Thomas, Washington’s most dangerous hitter, cranked a 1-1 sinker deep into Edgar’s Cantina beyond the left field wall. Seattle’s J.P. Crawford matched Thomas with a solo blast as well, this one over the wall to his pull-side of right field.
Washington wasn’t quite done producing early off of La Piedra. Dominic Smith, who is not normally known for his power, took Castillo deep in the second to give Washington a one-run lead. In the third, this time not a home run, but an RBI single by Luis Garcia scored the speedy CJ Abrams.
After the third is when Castillo was able to find his footing, along with the M’s bats. Eugenio Suarez snuck his eighth home run just fair past the left field foul pole to bring this one within one in the home fourth. Later on in the inning, Julio Rodriguez brough home Jarred Kelenic with a two-out RBI single, tying the game at three apiece.
A deep sacrifice fly by Geno, followed by a Mike Ford RBI single, and a Kolten Wong RBI double in the bottom of the fifth helped Seattle pull away for the first time Monday.
Luis Castillo was able to finish seven strong innings despite the early runs, striking out seven. After Castillo’s exit, Taylor Saucedo followed Andres Munoz. Things got a tad dicey as Saucedo had minimal control and allowed the tying run to step up to the plate in the top of the ninth, but Paul Sewald was able to strike out Jeimer Candelario looking on a sweeper that was well out of the strike zone. Seattle took Monday’s opener by a score of 8-4.
Looking for the first series win since their last home stand, Seattle had rookie Bryan Woo toe the rubber against righty Jake Irvin. Woo, since his poor MLB debut against Texas in early June, had only allowed four earned runs in his last three starts leading into Tuesday night.
After a Candelario two-out single in the first inning, Woo attempted a pickoff move that sailed well over Ty France, scoring him all the way from first base, which gave Washington an early 1-0 lead.
Teoscar Hernandez, a half-inning later, mashed a two-run opposite-field home run off of Irvin to give Seattle an early lead. A few innings of scoreless baseball later, and Geno added to the M’s advantage with a deep sacrifice fly in the home fourth.
Candelario after his two-out RBI double in the fifth, which narrowed Seattle’s lead to one, was attempting to give his teammate Joey Meneses pointers to what pitch was coming from Woo from second base. After Meneses flew out to Jarred Kelenic in left to end the inning, Cal Raleigh and Candelario got into a confrontation at home plate which briefly cleared the benches, but nothing escalated.
Woo’s day was done after five. Another strong start for the rookie, who only allowed one earned run and struck out seven.
Both teams traded runs in the seventh. A sacrifice fly by Washington’s Luis Garcia and an RBI groundout by Seattle’s Kolten Wong made the score 4-3 M’s headed to the eighth.
For some odd reason, closer Paul Sewald was brought in to face Washington’s bats in the eighth. Catcher Keibert Ruiz took Paul deep on a sweeper to tie the game at four.
Seattle couldn’t get it done in the next half inning, and then after Andres Munoz spun a scoreless ninth, the M’s bats again couldn’t walk it off despite having Geno at second base after his one-out double. Sadly enough, this failed offensive execution wasn’t the worst of it for the M’s Tuesday.
Seattle reliever Justin Topa was able to escape the tenth scoreless, and in the blink of an eye, the M’s had the bases-loaded with NO OUTS + 3-4-5 coming up. Surely, they were able to score one run somehow, someway, yeah? Ty France popped out, Teoscar Hernandez struck out swinging and Cal Raleigh check swung his way into a weak groundout. An embarrassment of situational hitting (much like most of this season) was in full display Tuesday night.
T-Mobile Park was silent, and as most left the stadium with displeasuring thoughts, the remaining fans were thinking that since the M’s couldn’t get it done in the tenth, that they wouldn’t get it done at all. That turned out to be the case, as Washington’s Lane Thomas doubled down the first base line with two outs, scoring two and a single by Garcia made it 7-4 Washington. A fly out, and two consecutive strikeouts in the bottom of the 11th ended, what felt like, the most frustrating loss of the season.
The M’s turned to the thin man, Logan Gilbert in the rubber match Wednesday afternoon. He faced veteran lefty Patrick Corbin, who coming into the finale, had a record of 0-4 and ERA well above six in his last five starts.
Washington picked up where they left off late yesterday on Wednesday. Four straight hits against Gilbert in the top of the first plated three early runs. How did the M’s respond in the home first? Strikeout, flyout, strikeout.
Gilbert eventually settled down, but not after allowing four runs. He finished after six innings, striking out four, while giving up eight hits. On the other side, Patrick Corbin matched his season high in strikeouts (six) through just four innings. He shut out the Mariners through seven innings, finishing with nine K’s.
Seattle never had any life Wednesday... almost like it was completely sucked out of them in extras in the night prior, as they lost by a score of 4-1.
It is not getting any easier for the M’s. After an off day on Thursday, Tampa Bay makes their one and only stop to T-Mobile Park in 2023. They come in with the best record in baseball, and rank fourth with a team batting average of .264 and second in the majors with a 3.64 team earned run average. Tampa leads the league in stolen bases and runs allowed as they currently lead the Baltimore Orioles by four games in a stacked American League East division.
Tampa Bay Head Coach Kevin Cash has yet to announce the Rays’ starters this weekend. Seattle will have rookie Bryce Miller (5-3, 3.88 ERA) go in the opener Friday, George Kirby (6-7, 3.26 ERA) on Saturday evening and Luis Castillo (5-6, 2.86 ERA) will finish it off Sunday afternoon.
American League West standings as of Wednesday afternoon:
- 1.Texas Rangers (48-31)
- 2.Los Angeles Angels (44-37), 5.0 GB
- 3.Houston Astros (42-37), 6.0 GB
- 4.Seattle Mariners (38-41),10.0 GB
- 5.Oakland Athletics (21-60)