M’s Win Second Consecutive Series over NL-Worst Rockies

After their first series win, a sweep, over the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle looked to keep their momentum as they were in the mile high city to take on the Colorado Rockies over the weekend.

The American League West so far this year has been underwhelming, and also surprising. Yes, it’s just twenty-ish games into the season, but the defending world champion-Texas Rangers are at the top, but right around .500, and the always-powerful Houston Astros have found themselves in last behind the M’s, A’s, and Angels.

With that said, yes Seattle has/had gotten off to a slow start but find themselves just a step outside of first place in the division.

An early-season series in Denver brings an unknown factor in terms of weather – especially with no roof, (come one guys, its 2024). Friday’s opener got snowed/rained out, and the make-up game was set for Sunday, a now doubleheader. Saturday brought the second-coldest game in the franchise’s history, just a few degrees above freezing. Sunday was nothing but sun and t-shirts for the doubleheader. Thursday, when the Rockies host the San Diego Padres, Coors Field will be around 80 degrees at first pitch.

Well with that said, maybe you missed some of the action from Saturday and all of Sunday…? Well, here is everything that happened in Denver, prior to the M’s heading to Arlington, Texas to take on the defending world champs on Tuesday.

Like stated earlier, Friday’s game was postponed to Sunday night, so Saturday was the official start to the series. The pitching matchup featured Luis Castillo, searching for his first win of the year against righty Dakota Hudson.

Despite a scoreless first on both sides, the M’s were able to tack on at least one run each inning from the second to the fifth. On the other hand, Castillo found his groove for the first time of 2024, and was mowing down the Rockies from the bump.

Catcher Cal Raleigh had the first two RBIs of Saturday night: an opposite field solo home run (batting lefty) and an RBI single. More good news from Saturday… star-outfielder Julio Rodriguez seemed to have found his groove at the dish. His RBI single in the fourth off of Hudson was his second of four hits on the game, to go along with two RBIs. Raleigh also had four hits, and two RBIs.

Castillo went more than five innings as a starter for the first time since late last season. Seven innings, just two hits and nine strikeouts.

Rookie Jonatan Clase, in the fifth, singled to right fielder Sean Bouchard who whiffed on fielding the chopping base hit. The bases were loaded, and as the ball made it almost all the way to the fence, the bases were promptly cleared, but Clase was nabbed at home – just missing out on a little-league inside-the-park grand slam.

Seattle Mariners v Colorado Rockies

Jonatan Clase has made an instant impact on the team since being called up. Though he was tagged out at home here, his single/E9 scored three en route to a series-opening dominating win over Colorado Saturday night. Photo: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Castillo & Seattle took Saturday’s affair handily, a final of 7-0, their fourth win in a row.

Game 1 of Sunday, and George Kirby was looking to build off his prior few starts against former-Guardian Cal Quantrill.

Offense on both sides was lifeless throughout. That is good news for Kirby, but not as good for Seattle’s bats. Julio did again have a multi-hit ballgame, but that was about it. Ezequiel Tovar, Brenton Doyle, and Jake Cave had multi-hit games for the Rocks.

Kirby went five scoreless, allowing five hits and punching out seven. Quantrill went six scoreless, walking FIVE, punching out four. The bullpens on both sides were also nails, as this game did not get offensively interesting until the bottom of the ninth.

With Ryne Stanek out for his second straight inning, he faced backup catcher Jacob Stallings with two outs. On the first pitch Stallings saw from Stanek, a 98-MPH fastball, he cranked it out to left.

Sending Dylan Moore back and back, the M’s left fielder attempted to rob, what appeared as, the game-winning home run for Colorado. Moore was interfered with by a Rockies’ fan, and what should have been a walk off blast for Stallings, was overturned after crew chief review for fan interference, and game one was headed to extras. A bizarre moment that greatly benefited Seattle, at least at the time.

Seattle Mariners v Colorado Rockies - Game One

Colorado's Jacob Stallings, along with literally everyone, no matter your bias to a certain team, was confused by the reversed call on the field for fan interference in game 1/2 of Sunday's doubleheader. Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Free baseball, and the M’s got on the board first in top ten. J.P. Crawford laced a single to right, scoring Jorge Polanco. But following Crawford’s single, the M’s went down in order, with consecutive strikeouts and a ground out. Seattle lead by one with Colorado needing one to tie, or two to win in their last ups.

Head Coach Scott Servais turned to flame-throwing Andres Munoz, who allowed back-to-back singles to Charlie Blackmon and Tovar and in the blink-of-an-eye, the game was tied and the winning run for Colorado was 90 feet away. Ryan McMahon grounded one to J.P. but Blackmon was able to cross home for the winning run.

A game Seattle deserved to lose, and they did after an inning of extras. Game one of two Sunday went the Rockies’ way, a final of 2-1.

Following the first game of the doubleheader, there was a three-hour nap break. Then it was time to get it on for the series finale. First pitch occurred at 6:11 PM central, and it was young right-hander Emerson Hancock facing Peter Lambert.

Colorado kept their momentum from extras in game one of the DH, as they got on the board in a hurry in game two. A double by Elias Diaz to right center scored two Rockies in the bottom of the first.

But within an instant, Seattle clapped back, in powerful fashion. A Dylan Moore sacrifice fly and Sebby Zavala RBI single knotted it at two in the top of two, but the M’s were not done. With the bases loaded with Mariners, J.P. dug in.

On a middle-middle Lambert fastball, Crawford absolutely smoked one deep to right center, off the tall wall. What would have been a grand slam in the other 29 ballparks across the league, J.P. cleared the bases, and wound up at third base with a 3-RBI triple.

Outside of the two-run Colorado first inning, Hancock was strong. He finished after six innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. Cal Raleigh continued his hot streak at the plate in the top of the sixth, muscling a 425-foot two-run blast over the fence in center field for his second home run in as many days, and his team-leading fifth on the season.

Seattle Mariners v Colorado Rockies - Game Two

Cal Raleigh had himself quite the games one and three in Denver: 6/8, 2 HR, 5 RBI -- Here's the "Big Dumper" rounding third after his mammoth home run in the series finale on Sunday.Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Despite the hiccup in the middle game, it was an overall successful series for Seattle as they took two of the three and find themselves at an even .500 on the season at 11-11. The final from game two Sunday was 10-2 in favor of the good guys.

The M’s get a much deserved day off after their doubleheader on Sunday. Their rest day will involve travel east to the lone star state, as the Texas Rangers will play host to the Mariners beginning Tuesday evening.

Our friends in the AL West, the Texas Rangers, sit atop the division, and in front of Seattle, by just a half game. The Rangers took on the highly-touted Atlanta Braves over the weekend and won the finale, but lost the prior two games in ATL.

A bit of a tough stretch sits in front of Seattle following their series in Denver this past weekend. The M’s will get the 2023 WS winners (@ Texas Rangers), 2023 WS runners-up (Arizona Diamondbacks) and the 2018-2023 NL East champions (Atlanta Braves) in succession. If they can string together clutch base hits and strong pitching performances like they did for a majority of the series sweep over Cincy and win over Colorado, they can keep up just fine with the big dogs of the league.

Pitching probables for SEA @ TEX:

  • Tuesday 4/23, 5:05 PM PST: RHP Logan Gilbert (1-0, 2.33 ERA) vs. RHP Dane Dunning (2-1, 3.91 ERA)
  • Wednesday 4/24, 5:05 PM PST: RHP Bryce Miller (3-1, 1.85 ERA) vs. RHP Jon Gray (0-1, 3.15 ERA)
  • Thursday 4/25, 11:35 AM PST: RHP Luis Castillo (1-4, 4.40 ERA) vs. LHP Andrew Heaney (0-2, 6.35 ERA)

American League West standings as of Monday 4/22:

  1. Texas Rangers (12-11)
  2. Seattle Mariners (11-11)
  3. Los Angeles Angels (9-13)
  4. Oakland Athletics (8-14)
  5. Houston Astros (7-16)

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