Let's go back in time a bit. It's the middle of the day on Thursday, August 3rd. The Mariners are only a half game ahead of the Angels, and fans are still unsure if the Mariners did enough at the deadline to put the team in a good enough position to succeed. Losing the series to the Angels would be a big blow, and put the team in a bad spot. They could be either 57-55 or 56-56 if things go poorly, and would need an insane run to finish the season to make the playoffs.
Well, at the conclusion of the series, one of the teams definitely will need a near-flawless finish to the season in order to make a push for the playoffs... and that team isn't the Mariners. The Mariners took all four games against the Angels in the series, and now sit a season high 8 games over 500, dropping the Angels to 56-57. Just when the Angels started to get it together (a 10-3 run), the Mariners took care of business helping push the Angels losing streak to 6 games.
The Mariners swept the Angels, and it feels incredible.
We knew that we were going to have to keep Ohtani in check to have a chance in this series. You could argue that the Angels best chance for a win was the first game. Ohtani was on the mound. We all know what he can do, but we didn't get to see a ton of it as he left the mound after 4 innings with cramps. He hit a homer, but just a solo shot. All in all, the Mariners kept him in check, as he went 4-14 with a double and a homer, walking 3 times but striking out 7 times. I'll take that every time.
So what else actually happened in the series? Let's check out some of the highlights.
Mariners vs Angels Game 1: Break out the Rye Bread and Mustard, Grandma
I mentioned Ohtani leaving the game earlier, and that partially overshadowed the great game by Bryan Woo. However, it's the 9th inning we need to focus on here. The Mariners had just six hits and one walk, scoring one run through the first eight innings. They found themselves down 3-1, going up against Carlos Estevez. Esteves hadn't blown a save all year. That doesn't make you feel good as the opposition.
So what happened?
Cal Raleigh walks on four pitches
Ty France walks on five pitches
Newcomer Canzone singles to right
Teo strikes out (one out)
Cade Marlowe turned on some 100 mph heat, launching the ball into the night for a go-ahead Grand Slam. It gave the Mariners the 5-3 lead, and Munoz would close the game down to get the series opening dub.
Mariners vs Angels Game 2: That's a whole lot of offense
The Mariners started off hot in this one, driving in four in the first inning. With Luis Castillo on the mound, you would figure that would be enough, and that the team would cruise to a victory.
Castillo struggled, giving up six runs on three homers. He still made it through six innings, helping to save the bullpen. Yes, it was a "bad" outing, but it shows the leadership and poise here to make it that far into the game. The Mariners were able to find enough offense though, in large part thanks to Geno. He set a Mariners team record with an RBI in 10 straight games, breaking the record held by Edgar Martinez.
Geno would put the Mariners ahead 8-7 in the 8th, and Big Dumper would add some insurance with a solo bomb in the 9th inning to give the Mariners the 9-7 win.
Mariners vs Angels Game 3: A gem by Kirby and a nervous 9th
George Kirby came to play on Saturday and didn't give the Angels much of anything. It's good because Tyler Anderson was on his game as well for the Angels. The Mariners were patient at the plate, walking 6 times. The big story was Julio being involved in a bunch of weird plays all game. He beat out a fielder's choice, and then had his stolen base called back because the umpire interfered with the catcher's throw. He was thrown out later in the inning at second, even though it was a bang-bang play. They went to review, and still called him out. He was HEATED, and it took a few Mariners to calm him down.
His next AB, he would rip a two-out, two-strike shot to left. It bounced off the top of the wall, back into play. Luckily, he still drove in two runs and made it into second with a double. That was the right call, as it clearly hit the top of the fence, but it was just a weird play. Later on in the game, he would beat out an infield hit that pulled the first baseman off the bag on the throw, and a Julio play went to review once again, with the same outcome as earlier as the call was upheld.
France gave the Mariners an insurance run in the 8th with an RBI single, and it ended up saving the game for the Mariners. Munoz threw a lot of pitches, and if not for a double that bounced over the fence, the Angels, would've tied the game. Instead, Munoz got Hunter Renfroe to strike out swinging, and the Mariners won the game 3-2.
Mariners vs Angels Game 4: Strikeouts aplenty
Bryce Miller. Oh man, did he start this game hot. The first 8 outs of the game for him were all on strikeouts. He would fan 10 through fine, giving up just one run. He wasn't the only one on top of his game though, as Chase Silseth would fan 12 Mariners through 7 innings. There were 30 K's in this game, as hitters were bamboozled all afternoon.
I wish Matt Thaiss would've been bamboozled as well. Instead, Thornton blew the save in the bottom of the 7th by giving up a solo bomb to tie it at 2-2. With some chances late, the Mariners were unable to capitalize, and it went to extras. Geno would stroke a ball to left to put the Mariners up 3-2, and the M's would leave Saucedo in for his second inning of work. It was the right call, as he sat them down in order to get the Mariners another 3-2 win.
Sitting 8 games above .500 at 60-52, the Mariners have an off day as they head back home to play the Padres in a short two-game series. Things are looking good for the Mariners, and this four game sweep against the Angels could be a turning point in the season.