The Mariners had a prime opportunity to take a series against the Yankees while in New York. The Yankees were missing a few starters due to positive COVID tests (best wishes on recovery) and would get to see a depleted pitching staff.
Instead, the Mariners had the opposite happen and actually lost the series to the Yankees, narrowly avoiding a sweep. There are a couple of big factors that led to the Mariners struggling in the series, and it starts with the offense.
The Mariners lost the series against the Yankees because of poor hitting.
Look, if you were going up against the top starters for the Yankees, I would understand only scoring 11 runs in four games. It’s still not a good number even if you are facing their top pitchers… but to do it against long relievers, rookies, and bottom-tier starters is just unacceptable.
The Mariners hit a woeful .219 in the series while hitting that same number, .219, with RISP. We know that Mariners offense hasn’t been great this year, but since France came back from being hit on the arm, the team has actually had an average offense. Against the Yankees, they were just consistently bad.
The starters did what they could, either leading the game at the time of their exit, or leaving while tied. In all four starts, the Mariners had a chance to win the game when the pitcher exited. Check out the outings from their four starters
- Tyler Anderson – Five innings, two runs, 87 pitches
- Marco Gonzales – 6.2 innings, no runs, 108 pitches
- Chris Flexen – Five innings, three runs, 98 pitches
- Yusei Kikuchi – Five Innings, zero runs, 97 pitches
It can be tough against the Yankees, as they are one of the best teams in baseball at working the count. You can see by the number of pitches that each starter threw, that they were having to slog through the start. Normally, this is where the Mariners bullpen comes in and closes the door. They have one of the strongest, most consistent pens in all of baseball, and are near the top of wins added via bullpen.
Instead, we saw them blow a lead in the 7th in the first game, blow a lead in the 8th and then lose in extras in the second, and be unable to stop the bleeding in the 6th after Flexen was pulled before recording an out. With how the Mariners have pitched out of the bullpen this season, you would expect all the pitchers to have a bad day at the same time. It’s been the status quo on the season. Instead, the Mariners lost three straight because of their bullpen.
It could be a case of looking ahead to Texas, being tired of being on the road, or thinking they could take advantage of the depleted Yankees. They managed to eke out a win in the finale to avoid being swept, but have fallen in the wild card standings.
They have an off day on the 9th, which will make for a nice day of travel and getting their focus back for the last 45 or so games of the season. The Mariners may be down after that series against the Yankees, but they are by no means out.