George Kirby has franchise first in dominant Mariners debut
There has been a lot of hype around Mariners prospects over the last year, and for good reason. They have one of the top systems in all of baseball with some incredible talents who have debuted in the last 12 months including Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, and Matt Brash. It’s time to add one more to the list in George Kirby.
The debuts and starts for the four guys I listed outside of Kirby are varied. Gilbert had his struggles, but turned it around before posting a team record for lowest ERA in the month of April. Julio struggled a bit out of the gate, but leads the league in stolen bases and is hitting .284/.346/.392 over his last 20 games (he’s only played 28).
Kelenic has had his ups and downs, but is hitting the ball harder as of late and playing some great defense in left field. Brash showed off some incredibly nasty stuff but struggled with control, and was sent down to AAA. Honestly, he probably should’ve been there anyway. Of Brash, Kirby, Stoudt, and Gilbert, Brash is actually the youngest of the 4.
George Kirby had a historic start to his Mariners career, accomplishing a franchise first
Mariners fans are an interesting bunch. To be honest, I’d call them realistic pessimists, although the vocal minority are quite the negative bunch… but that’s true of any franchise, even the ones with the most wins. So the debut for Kirby was nerve-wracking for many. He was going up against Tampa, a team that is not to be trifled with and can frustrate even the best of pitchers. So what did Kirby go out and do in the first inning? Movement. Sword. Velo.
Yeah, strikeout, single, strikeout, strikeout. He struck out the side (not in order, but that’s a whole other debate on if it’s still “striking out the side”) and was off to a roaring start. In fact, it led to something that no Mariners pitcher had ever done in their debut, going back to 1977 when the team started as the Seattle Mariners.
It’s incredibly impressive, and Kirby showed off everything that fans wanted. Heat, movement, the ability to fool batters. It was a wonderful performance, and fans should be feeling pretty good (at the moment) for the future of the Mariners rotation.
Unfortunately, Kirby would end up with a no-decision, as the Mariners struggled to put runs on the board. A Toro bombo in the 9th would tie it, and then… well, Mariners twitter had it phrased pretty well.