After a difficult road trip to Boston and Atlanta that saw the Mariners fall to seven games behind the Texas Rangers in the West, they enjoyed some home cooking to the tune of a 6-1 week.
Mariners Old Yeller the Athletics
The Oakland A's are one of the absolute worst situations in all of sports. Ownership has given this roster and fanbase nothing worthy of hope, and are another Bay area team that is leaving for greener pastures. What's left behind before they move to Las Vegas is arguably the worst team in baseball history.
The Mariners have taken full advantage of the A's misery, getting a rare home 4 game sweep. The Mariners are now 7-0 against Oakland, and may have a real chance to go 13-0 against them. With Texas and Houston both playing extremely well, it could be vital for Seattle to take advantage against a minor league roster masquerading as a pro baseball team.
Pirates (and Bryan Reynolds) are pretty good
I was very interested to see how the Pirates would look playing in Seattle. The Pirates are currently 26-26, and are right there in the hunt for a playoff spot. They're young and talented, and led by star hitter Bryan Reynolds. While Seattle may have won the series, the Pirates look like a team capable of staying in the playoff chase all season.
Reynolds was an absolute star this weekend at T-Mobile Park. The all-star outfielder went 5-12 with a home run, two triples, and 5 RBI's in three games. In case you might have forgotten, Reynolds had requested a trade back in the winter meetings, but with no traction, and a hot start for the Pirates, the team was able to lock up Reynolds to an 8 year, $106.7 million dollar deal.
The contract is a massive win for the Pirates, and you can't help but wonder how great Seattle could have been if they were able to strike a deal with Pittsburgh for Reynolds.
Balls are still getting juiced
The Pirates and Mariners got a head start on the home run derby that will be in Seattle in a few weeks, mashing 12 home runs in 2 out 3 games of the series. I don't know about you, but I think we saw some juiced baseballs. Some of these launch angles are giving me PTSD to when the Dodgers and Trashtros were smacking 10 home runs a game back in the 2017 World Series.
Julio roaring back to life
While Kelenic playing like a potential all-star is one of the biggest storylines this season, Julio's struggles felt like the opposite. As our site tweeted recently, Julio is warming up, and the league better be ready.
Since May 10th, Julio is 22-69 (.319) with six doubles, three homers, and 13 RBI in that 17 game span. Those are some incredible numbers. I've been clamoring for him to hit third since last summer, and I strongly believe him hitting third gives Seattle's best chance at glory.
Watching Julio, Kelenic and Cal playing so well is massive going forward, in both the short term and long term. When those three are rolling at the same time, this team is nearly impossible to beat.
Best staff in baseball
It's also tough to beat the Mariners when their potentially historic pitching rotation is dominating the way they have been this season.
This week, Luis Castillo rebounded from some sub par starts to two wins, with zero runs allowed and 20 K's in 12 IP. Bryce Miller continued his historically dominant start, going 6 IP, shitting out the A's whole, giving up just two hits.
While these two may be two of the five best pitchers in the AL right now, it was Logan Gilbert that had arguably the best performance of the week. After giving up two runs immediately in the 1st inning, Gilbert proceeded to shove, going 8 innings for a 3-2 win, giving up just one more hit after the 1st inning and throwing only 77 pitches. Just an absolute clinic by one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball.
What's on Deck?
As we end May, the Mariners have a potentially massive week coming up, taking on the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Trailing both in the standings, this could be another big opportunity to make a jump heading into June.
Bryce Miller will get the ball in game one at home vs the Yankees and in the series finale at Texas. He has an opportunity to carry the Mariners to a huge week, while likely locking up an all-star nod and Rookie of the Year hardware if he continues this historic run against some really strong offenses. Watching him duel with Aaron Judge is going to be must watch television.
Logan Gilbert will start in game two, an opportunity for him to bounce back after getting pummeled by the Yankees twice last year.
A successful week, and the Mariners could be ascending to the elite of the American League like we all had hoped back in the spring.