After a rough start to September, the Mariners looked forward to returning home to face a struggling Angels team. With a huge pitching advantage in this series, I predicted that Game 1 was imperative for the Mariners to win as they had a significant pitching advantage with Logan Gilbert against Reid Detmers and an unknown Bryan Woo on the bump in game 2. This series went pretty contrary to how I thought that it would thanks to a surprising Woo and an offensive eruption. Castillo anchored game 3 and the bullpen showed out.
In game 1, it looked like the Mariners were going to chase Detmers from the game early on, putting up a 3 spot in the 1st. The Angels lefty made sure that didn't happen by bouncing back to throw 7 innings and only giving up the 3 in the first while striking out 7 Mariners hitters. Gilbert matched Detmers by throwing 7 innings and giving up 3 runs on 2 Logan O'Hoppe home runs in the 2nd and 4th.
Things were quiet for both offenses until the 9th, when both teams had a chance to score with the bases loaded and both teams failed. The Angles with a 1 out strikeout and 2 out ground out while the Mariners had the bases loaded and nobody out and proceeded to strikeout, ground out and ground out. A 10th inning 2 run home run by Brandon Drury seemed like it was the end for the Mariners, but a 1 out, 2 run home run by Julio Rodriguez (one that gave him a 30-30 season), forced this battle to go to the 11th. Two singles and an uncharacteristic error by Eugenio Suarez gave the Angels a 3-run lead and they were able to shut the door on the Mariners and take game 1.
The most questionable game of this series was absolutely the most dominant game of the series. Bryan Woo, on 7 days of rest, proceeded to go 5 2/3 innings, only 4 hits and striking out 8. The best part of Woo's start was his command. He was able to work into the 6th inning and exit with only 83 pitches and no walks or hit by pitches. This was a huge step forward for Woo as he walked or hit 6 batters his last start. Bazard went 2 1/3 with 2 strikeouts and no walks, hits or runs and Dominic Leone was able to work a scoreless inning with a strikeout.
Like I said, game 2 was the most dominant game for the Mariners all around. The offense gave Woo some security right off the bat, scoring 3 in the first on 2 singles by Geno and Ty France followed by a Dylan Moore double.
Side note, can we stop asking Ty France to go first to home, the dude is so slow. Okay. Thanks.
Moving on to the 4th and what do you know, a J.P. Crawford clutch moment. A 2-1 slider in the middle of the plate was sent to the right-center gap for a bases-loaded double that gave the Mariners a 6-0 lead. I am seriously banging the drum for that man to be a silver slugger. Julio singled after J.P.'s double giving the Mariners a 7 run lead, and a Geno home run in the 5th, made it 8. The rest of the game was pretty meh other than a Luis Torrens double in his first appearance for the Mariners this year.
The Mariners came into game 3, needing this win. You have the Dodgers coming to town for 3 and you have your ace on the mound, while the Angels decided to go with a bullpen day. Castillo was okay in this start, his pitch count was elevated due to 3 walks, but he was good enough to give the Mariners a chance at winning. He went 6 innings, having to throw 104 pitches, but struck out 8, only giving up 3 hits, 2 runs, and walking 3.
He gave the bullpen some much-needed rest, but with a day off, Scott Servais opted to use his 3 best guys to secure a series win. Topa labored through the 7th giving up 1 hit, walking 1 and striking out 1. Brash was dominant, eclipsing 100 strikeouts, something that is pretty impressive for a reliever. He struck out the side walking 1 and giving up one hit. Munoz came on in the 9th, and everyone's blood pressure instantly spiked. But it was pretty dominant as his 2-seam fastball was about as nasty as we have seen from Munoz. He struck out Jordyn Adams and Randal Grichuk and the best catcher in the American League, Cal Raleigh, ended the game by throwing out Brett Phillips trying to steal 2nd base.
The Mariners will get a much-needed day off before the last non-division series of the year against the Dodgers. Texas and Toronto are in game 2 of a 4 game series and the Rangers have won the first 2. The Mariners are most likely hoping for a sweep either way as this would give the Mariners some separation from the Blue Jays for the last wild card spot. Before game 3 is over, the Mariners sit a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays for the 3rd wild card spot.
This was a big series win after a disappointing loss in the first game and a dreadful start to September, but the Mariners have a big series coming up against the Dodgers before 4 series against division opponents that will have serious playoff implications, both for the wild card spot as well as the division title.