Well… last night was an interesting game. Marco Gonzales pitched an absolute gem through 8.1 innings on only 100 pitches leading the Mariners to their best start in franchise history. Yes, you read that right. The “restructuring” Mariners, you know… the ones you thought would win maybe 70 games at the most are already 10% of the way to 70 and only 5% through the season.
Marco retired 15 consecutive batters from the last out of the 2nd inning through the second out of the 7th. Overall, he surrendered one run on four hits and striking out three. His only base on balls came in the top of the 9th. He has undoubtedly slid into the position as the Mariners’ ace and is now 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA. Anthony Swarzak came in with one out in the 9th, striking out Albert Pujols and getting Jonathan Lucroy to ground out to Dee (who made one heck of a play) to seal it, earning his first save as a Mariner.
Mariners hitters finally came back down to Earth during this contest. The heart of the lineup went hitless and had only one hit, a Vogelbach double, through 5 innings. A red hot Dee Gordon doubled in the bottom of the 6th and was able to reach 3rd on a wild slider by Trevor Cahill. Mitch Haniger was able to plate Dee with a double to left field.
Then it was Vogelbomb time.
His first blast of the season came with one out in the 8th putting the Mariners ahead 2-1. Vogey was a late add to the lineup as Edwin Encarnacion was scratched. Vogelbach went 2-3 with a double and a home run. His late addition proved to be the deciding factor for this ballgame.
So, what did we learn?
First, Marco is off to a great start. The crafty lefty was able to pinpoint his off-speed pitches forcing the Halos to hit a lot of slow ground balls for outs. He kept his pitches to the outside half of the plate to right-handers, causing them to reach for the ball for weak contact. His growing accuracy and deceptive changeups should allow for continued success throughout the season.
Second, the offense has finally jumped from the hot tub to the pool. Yesterday marked their lowest number of runs scored all season. To Cahill’s credit, he pitched a decent game causing the Mariners to cool off a little bit. He was able to strike out four and walk one. However, the Mariners have still hit a home run in every contest this season, which is impressive. As I mentioned the heart of the lineup went hitless, which isn’t too concerning as it is just one ballgame. Batters 3-7– Santana, Bruce, Narvaez, Beckham, and Healy– all put up goose eggs, each striking out once.
Third, I’m not too sure if I agree with Servais’ decision to put in Swarzak for his Mariners debut after a stint on the IL. Did it work? Sure. Was I nervous? Oh yeah. Were you nervous? I’m going to say yes to that also. The bullpen has been a little shaky and putting in Anthony had me scratching my head. To his credit, he did his job just fine. His slider was gnarly which caused Pujols to chase a pitch off the plate for strike 3. Again, the closing situation is a giant question mark right now for the Mariners. However, what they are doing seems to be working so I’m just going to roll with it.
The Mariners have a much needed day off as they travel to Chicago for a series with a bye thrown in the middle on Friday. I’m excited to see how they fare on the road against a 1-3 White Sox team. Kikuchi will get the nod as he tries to get his first W in the Bigs.
What are your thoughts? Post them below!