Marco Gonzales isn't the fifth starter
The crafty lefty came into the season in the "best shape of his life." We know he came in with something to prove, considering a subpar 2022 by his standards. He also must be feeling the pressure of those quality arms performing well in Arkansas. Additionally, the team is in a different place this season—where they can't punt winnable games (see Chris Flexen).
Many people felt Gonzales' role on the team was as a fifth starter, and that was an obvious assumption considering the gap in pure stuff between him and the other starters. But with Flexen's struggles, we can say the 30-year-old southpaw is locked into the fourth spot.
Marco Gonzales is embracing analytics
Anyone who has watched Gonzales throw knows his recipe for success is locating his pitches and playing the yo-yo game with a hitter's timing. The great thing is five starts in; you can see some adjustments to his approach that are putting him in a position to provide quality innings. There is a good chance the Mariners' analytics department crafted a plan for his 2023 season. The first is less reliance on his 89-mph fastball and more quality curves and changeups.
We saw the same adjustments from a similar Mariner southpaw when faced with Father Time and hitters catching up to a middling fastball.