Despite home-field advantage and a fan total of over 100,000 in their three-game series against the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners lost two of three and now are firmly on the outside looking in of the playoffs going into their final series of 2023. Needed to win the series and preferably sweep, the Mariners fell flat when it mattered most.
The Astros outscored the home Mariners 15-10 in the three games. Each game was decided by 4 or 5 runs and seemed decided early. What had appeared to be a series that would be filled with pitching battles featured three games where one clearly outperformed the other.
Justin Verlander turned back the clock in the first game, going 8.0 innings, allowing just three hits and one run while striking out eight. His counterpart, Luis Castillo, gave up five runs over 6.0 innings, essentially deciding the game before he had even left the mound.
The front and middle of the Mariners offense especially struggled against Verlander, going a combined 0-for-22 from the plate in the opener. The struggles continued throughout the series, as the front six of the order went 9-for-61, a .148 batting average.
Julio Rodríguez’s recent struggles continued, as he went 0-for-9 with two walks and five strikeouts, including the dreaded “Golden Sombrero” in the series' final game.
The best performance from the week has been George Kirby’s start in the one game the Mariners won. Despite getting hit by a ball thrown by a fan, he went 6.0 innings of scoreless ball, striking out four and giving up just one walk and five hits.
He outdueled Cristian Javier immensely and the Mariners got away with at least one win in the 6-2 finish, but the momentum did not last long.
After starting the rubber match well enough, preventing the Astros from scoring and taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Bryce Miller gave up four runs in the top of the fourth inning. After the offense got two runs back in the bottom of the frame, it was all Houston the rest of the way.
Scoring four more unanswered through the last half of the game, Seattle officially lost the series and now sit 1.5 games behind the final wild card spot as they enter a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.