In what has otherwise been a stellar bullpen for the Mariners, the lone weakness surfaced once again in the opening game of the series against the Dodgers. Rafael Montero is the culprit and blew his fifth save in nine chances before even reaching the quarter mark of the season.
The Mariners had been playing great baseball for the first six innings. They were up 4-1 against the reigning champs, and we all thought that with the strength of their bullpen, the team would have a good shot at getting a win to open the two-game series.
Instead, we were shown another questionable decision by Servais. Kikuchi was at 93 pitches and would be expected to break the 110 pitch mark if he stayed in for another inning. He was pulled before that could happen after giving up two singles around his 11th punchout of the night. Misiewicz would walk Pollock to load the bases, strikeout Betts, and then give up a two-run single to the other Seager. Montero came in to finish the inning, and the team was up 4-3.
That was the only positive from Rafael Montero, as he would proceed to lose the game for the Mariners.
It’s not just that Montero would blow the game (which, honestly, shouldn’t be a surprise with how he has pitched this year, but that he would retire the first two batters before giving up a single, an HBP, and a three-run bomb to Gavin Lux.
Okay, so maybe I’m just upset and venting a bit. Totally understandable, right? The Mariners have fallen back to earth a bit, and at 18-18, they sit at .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 in the middle of the Minnesota series. Montero actually hasn’t been terrible, as the 5.51 era is a bit of a mirage, as his FIP is 4.63 and his xERA is 3.77.
Pait that with the realization that Jarred Kelenic is supposed to be here for the start of the Cleveland series, and things aren’t as bad as they seem. It’s important to remember that the team was only supposed to win in the low 70s this year. Knowing how difficult the early schedule was, you would take 18-18 in a heartbeat six weeks ago. Now, we just need Montero to fall in line a bit with his truer stats, and things can get back to normal for Seattle as the weather and hopefully, the bats, continue to heat up.