Before looking back on the three-game set against the Boston Red Sox, the trade deadline came and went yesterday at 3:00 PM. While big-name players joined teams in the American League West, Seattle stayed surprisingly quiet both ways. Many thought that the Mariners were either sellers OR buyers. Turns out President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto, General Manager Justin Hollander and Manager Scott Servais were and are content with how the team looks at the moment, and hoping they can create some magic post-deadline to push towards their second straight playoff appearance.
The pitching certainly has not been the problem for the M’s this season. It’s been the offense, where they currently rank 26/30 in team batting average, second-to-last in strikeouts and in the bottom third in on-base percentage as well as slugging. There were hopes from the Seattle-faithful that the Mariners were in the market for a bat or two.
The big trade that did occur was beloved closer Paul Sewald. Paul, 33-years-old, was due to become a free agent after next season. He was moved to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were in desperate need for a late-inning bullpen arm. Paul’s three-year tenure in Seattle was magnificent. After going 1-14 with the New York Mets for four seasons, he was reborn in a Seattle uniform, going 18-8 over the three seasons, posting a 2.88 ERA, striking out 236 and earning 52 saves. The three players that came to Seattle for Sewald was rookie outfielder Dominic Canzone, utilityman Josh Rojas, and Double-A middle infielder Ryan Bliss.
Canzone will take the place of the injured Jarred Kelenic in the outfield. Josh Rojas will platoon with Jose Caballero at second or wherever he is needed, and Bliss will make his way up through the farm system.
Other roster news included AJ Pollock being traded to the San Francisco Giants for cash, or a PTBNL and second basemen Kolten Wong being designated for assignment. Tommy La Stella (DFA’d), Pollock (traded), and Wong (DFA’d) were all off-season gets to improve the offense.
Though quiet during the deadline, the Mariners have been sneaky hot since July 20th. Three straight series wins against the Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins and Arizona Diamondbacks, and a record 7-3 in their last ten games.
Coming off of taking two of three in the desert against the D-Backs, Seattle returned home to start a brief homestand. By brief, it means that this series is the only one in the PNW this time around. The Boston Red Sox were in town, as the two teams facing of have similar records in similar circumstances in their respective divisions and in the wild card race.
To get things going against Alex Cora’s squad on Monday, it was All-Star George Kirby on the bump against Nick Pivetta.
Top of the first, and a rare walk was issued by Kirby to leadoff man Jarren Duran. That was the first mistake, and the second and third came on a pitch to Justin Turner. Durran took off for second and catcher Tom Murphy spiked it to Caballero as the ball trickled to Julio Rodriguez in center field. Durran kept motoring and Rodriguez’s throw to third was off-line, as Duran was able to score all the way from first on two throwing errors by Seattle.
Seattle did respond, or should I say Seattle did dump in the second. Cal Raleigh, who was wonderful against Boston in Fenway, mashed a solo blast off of Pivetta into the sun-filled right field seats to tie it up.
Though Red Sox batters had some long at-bats against Kirby throughout his start, he bent, but didn’t break. George only lasted five innings, but allowed just the one run on four hits, striking out seven. Nick Pivetta, on the other side, was having himself a wonderful start as well. This game remained 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh.
The Big Dumper, with a homer already in the ballgame, took his second dump of the night off of Pivetta. It was Raleigh’s second multi-homer game against Boston this season, as his 16th of the season gave the M’s their first lead of the night.
A now 2-1 game, and it was Julio and the M’s back up in the eight looking for some insurance. They got that and then some, thanks to Rodriguez’s two-run single followed by RBI singles by Eugenio Suarez and Teoscar Hernandez. Rookie Isaiah Campbell came in for Seattle in Boston’s last ups, and thanks to a wonderful diving play by J.P. Crawford, this ballgame was over. Final score: SEA 6, BOS 2.
Now four games above .500 for the very first time this season, and looking for their fourth-straight series victory, rookie Bryce Miller got the nod against second-year righty Bryan Bello.
M’s struck first, thanks to a Geno Suarez single that scored J.P. Crawford in the bottom of the first. They should have continued to add on based on the fact that they had base-loaded and no outs, but that’s just not was the 2023 Mariners do. A flyout, strikeout ground out limited Seattle to just the one run.
1-0 through the next two innings, but in top four, Boston’s bats came alive. They had bases-loaded and no outs, and an opposite field ground-rule double plated two and a sac fly gave them three total. They continued to add on in the next top half, where Alex Verdugo muscled his eighth bomb of the season over the wall in center.
Geno got the M’s back within two on his 15th home run of the season, and his third RBI Tuesday night. But again, Boston wasn’t quite done. Reese McGuire, returning from injury, crushed his first homer of 2023 to lengthen Boston’s lead to 6-3.
Following McGuire’s homer, it was the end of the road for the rook. Miller went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits.
The M’s, down two runs in the bottom of the eight, had an opportunity with two in scoring position and just one out, but back-to-back K’s by Mike Ford and Josh Rojas nullified the chance. Long-time closer Kenley Jansen shut the door on Seattle in the ninth as Boston took game two of three by a final of 6-4.
Rubber match, get-away Wednesday featured the thin man, Logan Gilbert who was probably frustrated that the month of July came to an end. After a spectacular month on the bump, Logan faced off against righty Kutter Crawford in the finale.
Jarren Duran, who has been a Mariner-killer this season, broke the deadlock in the third inning. His two-run shot plated catcher Connor Wong to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead.
Kutter sliced and diced the M’s throughout his start, allowing just four hits, shutting out Seattle.
Masa Yoshida singled home a run in the fifth to lengthen the lead to three. But, Seattle was able to get right back into it on one swing of the dumper. Cal’s third homer of the series, fifth against Boston this year, on a ten-pitch AB got Wednesday’s game within one in the bottom of the sixth.
After Dom Canzone walked, and Tom Murphy singled for his third hit of the ballgame, rookie Cade Marlowe laced a pinch-hit RBI single up the gut to knot it at three in the bottom of the seventh. Julio broke his bat on a ground ball to short, but a collision between Red Sox players scored The Murph to give Seattle the lead. The wheels kept rollin’, as Geno laced an RBI single to right. A well-executed first-and-third play allowed Julio to steal home and add on as the M’s were up 6-3 heading into the last two frames.
Matt Brash, Gabe Speier, Justin Topa and Andres Munoz did what they typically do best, and Seattle’s late-game rally proved successful as the M’s won 6-3 on Wednesday. Not only did it get Seattle back to four games up, but the win meant four series victories in a row. Good momentum at the right time, with a major series beginning tomorrow
A huge, four-gamer against the team that is neck-and-neck with the M’s in the AL West and the AL Wild Card race… the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Shohei Ohtani and co. are 4-2 against Seattle this season and it will be the second time this year that the Mariners will meet the Halos in Cali.
Pitching probables for SEA @ LAA:
- Thursday 8/3, 6:38 PM PT: RHP Bryan Woo (1-3, 4.96 ERA) vs. RHP Shohei Ohtani (9-5, 3.43 ERA)
- Friday 8/4, 6:38 PM PT: RHP Luis Castillo (7-7, 2.88 ERA) vs. LHP Reid Detmers (2-8, 4.35 ERA)
- Saturday 8/5, 6:07 PM PT: RHP George Kirby vs. LHP Tyler Anderson (5-2, 4.98 ERA)
- Sunday 8/6, 1:07 PM PT: RHP Bryce Miller (7-4, 4.35 ERA) vs. Chase Silseth (3-1, 3.99 ERA)
American League West Standings as of Wednesday evening:
- 1.Texas Rangers (61-46)
- 2.Houston Astros (62-47)
- 3.Seattle Mariners (56-52), 5.5 GB, 3.0 WCGB
- 4.Los Angeles Angels (56-53), 6.0 GB, 3.5 WCGB
- 5.Oakland Athletics (30-78), 3-7 L10
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