I noticed several recurring themes in the Mariners series against the Cubs.
- It is cool to play in such a historical ballpark
- The umpires called many balls as strikes and occasionally it went the other way.
- With Muñoz and Flexen unavailable, the bullpen struggled because there were fewer pitchers who could step in. Guys were coming in from and going out to AAA Tacoma.
- Jarred Kelenic made some key hits, including three home runs, one per game. The last home run beat some records! Very exciting!
- Julio Rodríguez did not produce when necessary. There was a critique of the hitting by the second half of the lineup, but Julio was not playing like a top-of-the-lineup player.
The Mariners left Chicago on a high note, avoiding the sweep
Monday, April 10: Cubs 3, Mariners 2
Luis Castillo had a quality start, pitching six innings and allowing two runs. Seattle scored in the top of the fourth and the Cubs earned two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Relieving pitchers Topa, Speier, and Sewald prevented the Cubs from scoring additional runs. In the top of the eighth, the bases were loaded, but the Mariners were unable to seize the opportunity. No scores occurred for a few innings until the Mariners scored in the ninth, tying the game 2-2.
Brash struggled in the tenth inning, allowing one run that ended the game. In the top of the tenth, the Mariners again loaded the bases, but were again unable to bring anyone home. Brash struggled In the bottom of the inning, allowing one run, Nick Madrigal scored by tagging the base on a hit caught by Hernandez.
Tuesday, April 11: Cubs 14, Mariners 9
In the top of the second inning, the Tuesday game looked like it could be fun with two runs in the first and five in the second by the Mariners. This hope was squelched when Chicago had one run in the second and then eight runs in the third.
Chris Flexen was the starting pitcher, standing in for Robbie Ray. Flexen allowed no runs in the first inning and one run in the second. In the third, however, he pitched while the Cubs racked up eight runs. He was relieved by Trevor Gott who allowed one run, Diego Castillo who allowed two, and Jose Rodríguez who allowed three.
This felt like a very different match-up than the previous day. On Monday, both teams struggled to score; in this game, both teams scored well but the Cubs scored more runs so the outcome was the same: a loss.
The following Mariners had RBIs in this game: France, 2; Suárez, 3; Raleigh, 1, Hernandez, 1; Kelenic 1, and Wong, 1. Both Suarez and Kelenic hit home runs.
Wednesday, April 12, 2023: Mariners 5, Cubs 2
In the final opportunity to get a win against the Cubs, Logan Gilbert pitched successfully into the seventh inning. He struck out seven batters and allowed only one run in the first inning. Matt Brash and Justin Topa then threw scoreless innings, followed by Paul Sewald who allowed one home run.
During the third inning, Suárez and Hernández hit singles that allowed other players to score. In the seventh inning, Ty France hit a single, allowing JP Crawford to come in.
In the top of the eighth inning, Teo hit one homerun followed by Jarred Kelenic who also hit it out of the park. The announcers said that they had never seen a ball go as high and Statcast measured the hit at 482 feet, the farthest home run at Wrigley Field since 2015 (at least, that's how far back Statcast goes), according to Aaron Goldsmith.
This trip to Cleveland and Chicago has been tough with some losses, several of which were close. If I was exhausted after of the games, I cannot imagine how the players feel. May their day off tomorrow give them some much-needed rest.