SEAside Thoughts: Mariners lay egg in opening series at home vs Guardians
Lack of control doomed Ray
It was a really cold night in Seattle on Friday, but Ray didn't look comfortable from about pitch #3. He labored, struggling to find the strike zone, walking 5 hitters, and seeing his velocity drop almost 5mph. It was a stark contrast from the Robbie Ray we saw looking like a Cy Young candidate in spring training.
Velocity drop, how did staff not notice sooner?
As we stated, Ray's velocity didn't look good, and apparently, he wasn't healthy, now being put on the 15 day IL with a left flexor strain. It sounds like he avoided any major injuries, but very odd to see that much of a drop in velocity, and no checking in (that we saw) from the coaching staff. He did mention that he thought the tightness was just from being cold, so that could've been a quick conversation he had with the staff at some point.
The Mariners championship aspirations rely heavily on Robbie Ray being really good in 2023. Hopefully this is just a blip on the radar of a successful bounce back season.
Walter was showing out
Logan Gilbert was fantastic in his season debut, even in defeat. The big right hander went 6 strong innings, giving up 1 run (a solo blast) on 4 hits, while walking just one hitter to go with 7 K's.
His command was spectacular for a cold night in April, his fastball velocity looked strong, and his new splitter is going to do so much damage. Gilbert was awarded as the best pitcher in the American League in April of last year, and he's off to a good start in 2023.
Supporting cast quiet
Before Teoscar's laser double late in Sunday's loss, he and much of the supporting cast left a lot to be desired from the offense. Hernandez has the ability to be part of this core, but will need to show it first. He along with Crawford, Kelenic, Wong, La Stella, Hummel, and Pollock went a combined 6 for 64 in the 4 game series.
I believe Teoscar will show up and be a key cog in this offense, and I actually liked many of Kelenic's at bats, but you have to be concerned with how he'll handle a potentially rough start.
As for the rest of the group, I was mostly unimpressed. Tommy La Stella continues to look like a guy that should not be on a playoff roster, and the trio of him and Hummel and Pollock makes me very nervous about the DH position going forward. There were plenty of great options, but Jerry Dipoto is steadfast in using that position for versatility. We'll see if that works out for them.
After a disappointing start, the Halos come to town after taking two of three from the Athletics. While it is extremely early, it would be concerning to go 2-5 on the opening homestand.
The Mariners need to focus up in the final two games after losing the opener. Things won't be easy, as they still have to face Ohtani.