Anyone following the 2021 – 2023 iteration of the Mariners knows one of the key strengths is starting pitching. General Manager Justin Hollander subscribes to the old-school formula of pitching, defense, and timely hitting, winning ball games. Unfortunately, the 2023 team has had some significant struggles following that blueprint. Specifically with Robbie Ray out for the season and Chris Flexen struggling to find his footing.
Manager Scott Servais had already used eight starters this season when he had a stable of arms who didn't miss a start last season. It was a pipedream to think it would happen again. Some minor aches and pains always tend to push a guy back. The pitching order is up for debate now that Marco Gonzales threw a dud to wrap up the Blue Jays series, and Flexen came out of the pen (2 IP, 0 ER, 2 K) in what would become a 10-8 win.
Rookie Easton McGee threw an absolute masterpiece in Toronto over the weekend, with many fans sighing with relief over the 'new' backend of the rotation. But then the injury bug hit and the team promptly put McGee on the 15-day injured list. So, mark him off the list. Tommy Millone isn't an option, as the Astros tend have splits that favor hitting againsat left handers (.249/.324/.424).
Could this be the debut series of one of the high-end pitching prospects (Hancock, Miller, Woo)? President of Baseball Operations, Jerry Dipoto, had some interesting comments with Brock and Salk on his weekly Seattle Sports 710 appearance.
"There are some creative ways we might be able to resolve it that we've not completely talked through yet, or we could tap into the next wave of young talent that we have in our system, which is a possibility for us," Dipoto said. "And it could be some combination of all or any of those things."- Jerry Dipoto on Seattle Sports 710
The Mariners will roll out Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, and Luis Castillo against the Oakland A's this week (Tuesday – Thursday). Houston is coming to town Friday for a three-game set. I tend to agree with Ryan Divish on this one. We might see one of the pitching prospects against Oakland so that the team can move Luis Castillo into the first Friday game. Again, it's all speculation, but calling Miller or Hancock up to face a 6-23 club might be the soft landing this team needs to solidify their number one strength ahead of a critical series.