The Seattle Mariners 9-game road trip included series with the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, and Houston Astros. With a 2-7 record, winning one in Tampa Bay and one in Miami the M’s didn’t quite accomplish what they had expected.
Sure, there were solid pitching performances (enter Logan Gilbert) and they were within 3 runs in 5 of the 7 losses, and Julio Rodríguez discovered the feeling of hitting a Major League home run. Bottom line, some good things happened, but some things certainly went wrong.
Let’s start with the bad. I’d rather get that out of the way first.
The final series of the road trip in Houston (5/2 – 5/4) deserves two words: short memory. The Mariners were shut out in 24 straight innings before finally scoring in the top of the 7th in the third and final game of the series thanks to a two-run homerun by Eugenio Suárez, his 4th on the year.
Pitching-wise, Game One starter Marco Gonzales went 6 IP, allowing 3 earned runs vs Houston, which ended up being the final score, 3-0. The Mariners have struggled with providing strong pitching with run support and will have to pick it up at home.
Game Two saw Chris Flexen, who has been having a solid year and is living up to expectations. Five innings from him and an earned run was his day, though yet again getting no help on the offensive side as the final score was similar to the night before, 4-0.
Back-to-back shutouts are clearly not ideal in the big leagues, so they may need to switch some things up. Maybe there is someone who can help with that.
The series in Miami (4/29-5/1) was certainly one to forget, especially for pitcher Matt Brash, who in Game One allowed 6 earned runs over 2 IP. Despite a late-inning rally, the M’s fell 8-6 to start the series aiding to a 4-game losing streak.
Overall, this was not the ideal road trip for the Mariners. A now 5-10 record on the road stings, especially with 58 runs allowed compared to 46 runs scored.
Bad, but not too bad.
Game Two in Miami was a tough-to-watch 3-1 loss as the former All-Star Robbie Ray threw 5 innings allowing 3 earned runs. Four walks hurt Ray in this one, something he will need to forget and move on from. I will take 8 strikeouts, though.
Ray will have to find his way if he wants to keep himself in Cy Young talks. Granted it is early for everyone, but Seattle will have to gain ground in the division early. Run support will need to make a comeback and hopefully, a seven-game home stand can right the ship.
Of course, in the first series of the road trip and the one win against the Rays, Logan Gilbert, the April AL Pitcher of the Month, got the win by pitching 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run. Reliever Matt Koch allowed 4 earned (ouch) but the M’s won the first of 9 on the road, 8-4.
The bats went silent after that, scoring just three runs in the next two games against the Rays losing the next two (1-2, 2-3) including the series. They were in each game, but the bats need to stay hot in a division that is proving to be one of the toughest in the league.
Both losses in Tampa Bay ended in one-run decisions, which is technically acceptable although it shouldn’t happen nearly as often, especially on the road. Run support, run support, run support.
Now, let’s get to the good.
First things first, Logan Gilbert is the man. Gilbert was the centerpiece in the only 2 wins on the road trip as he continued his success. In those two starts, the 24-year-old righty has a sub-2 ERA at 1.59 and also pitched an exact 5 2/3 innings in both, striking out 12 total.
That also goes to show the ‘pen doing is doing its job, though Seattle pitching gave up at least 3 runs in 8 of the 9 road trip games.
In that final game in Miami while avoiding the sweep, Gilbert tossed a gem and Julio Rodríguez hit his first homerun of his hopefully long Major League Career.
Projected at 450 feet with an exit velo of 110.4 mph and a launch angle of 25 degrees, the monstrous homerun banged off of the concourse railing at LoanDepot park as Rodríguez rounded the bases collecting three RBI’s as he touched home.
Despite a quiet offensive showing and a few rocky pitching performances, a glowing start to the year from Logan Gilbert and Julio getting his wings are things to takeaway and be excited about moving forward with this team.
A quick side note: CF Kyle Lewis, who has been on a rehab stint after getting knee surgery during the middle of the 2021 season, launched an absolute rocket of a homerun in his first at-bat in Triple-A Tacoma. As he gets healthy and proves his way back in the lineup, he could be someone to boost this lineup. Roster shifts could get interesting in the next month.
With the road trip in the rear view, what’s next for the Mariners?
The M’s come back to T-Mobile Park for a seven-game home stand facing the Tampa Bay Rays, again, for 4 games starting May 5th. This will be a good time to start a winning streak, especially with the beef of the rotation getting nods. Starters for that series are as follows:
Game 1: Robbie Ray, LHP
Game 2: Logan Gilbert, RHP
Game 3: Marco Gonzales, LHP
Game 4: Chris Flexen, RHP
The second set of three games will be against the Philadelphia Phillies starting Monday, May 9th. Pitchers TBD.