Rangers 2, Mariners 1
(Seattle, WA) Over the weekend, the Seattle Mariners built momentum for the first time all season. Winners of six of their previous seven games, it felt like the perfect opportunity for the Mariners to make up some ground on the division leading Texas Rangers as they hosted the team from the Lone Star State for a three-game series. Logan Gilbert brought his best stuff but the offense left A LOT to be desired. One swing of the bat was the only offense for the Mariners and Gilbert’s perfect game bid ended abruptly as the Rangers rallied late to steal game one from the M’s 2-1.
Everything started very positively for the Mariners. In the bottom of the 1st, Ty France would provide the pop for the Mariners lineup. For the first time since Opening Day, Ty France hit a home run. It was his second of the season and was a solo blast to put the M’s out in front early 1-0.
The offense did not have a really good opportunity to add on until the bottom of the 5th. Singles by Teoscar Hernandez and Jose Caballero put a couple runners on for Kolten Wong with one out. Wong would get hit by a curveball which loaded the bases and thankfully was ok which was massive since J.P. Crawford was a late scratch after fouling a ball off his knee on Sunday. With the bases loaded and just one out, Julio Rodriguez stepped into the batter’s box. Once again, it felt as if Julio put too much pressure on himself but he would still make solid contact. Unfortunately, the rocket went right to Josh Jung at third. Texas would go around the horn for a 5-4-3 double play to kill the Seattle threat and keep the game at just 1-0.
For most of the game it looked like that one run would be enough for Logan Gilbert. The third year starter, Gilbert tied Mariner history as he became the third Mariner to strikeout seven consecutive hitters, joining Mark Langston (1984) and Luis Castillo (2022) in the process. Not only that, but Logan Gilbert also had a perfect game through six innings with nine strikeouts along the way. He looked sensational and had nothing but confidence in every pitch in his arsenal. Logan was aggressive and attacked hitters, living in the zone and putting the pressure on the Ranger lineup to put the ball in play. Gilbert became the third Mariner this season to have a perfect game or no-hitter into the seventh.
The bad news is the Mariners have now lost two of those three games in which their pitchers have had a perfect game or no-hitter into the 7th. The top of the 7th is where the Rangers would do their damage. A leadoff single by Marcus Semien was just out of the reach of Jose Caballero at shortstop. A standing ovation from the crowd at T-Mobile Park followed for Logan Gilbert but it was right back to work for the young right-hander. A few batters later, Texas had the bases loaded with one out. Josh Jung sent a flyball down the right field line. Teoscar Hernandez glided over to make the catch but Semien tagged and scored from third to tie the game at 1-1. Jonah Heim gave the Rangers their first lead of the game with a base hit to center field. Nathaniel Lowe scored from second to put the Rangers out in front 2-1. That would end the day for Gilbert as he now relied on the offense to help him out.
Help never came for Gilbert. The only two base runners the Mariners had against the Texas bullpen were both hit by a pitch. Those came in the bottom of the 8th inning and Seattle had runners on first and second with two outs. Jarred Kelenic unfortunately couldn’t cash in and struck out swinging. The M’s would then go down in order in the 9th to end the ball game and give the Rangers the 2-1 win.
With the loss, Seattle (17-18) still has not gotten above .500 since Opening Day and they will look to try to get back to .500 on Tuesday in the second game of the series at 6:40pm. George Kirby (3-2, 3.11 ERA) will try to continue his recent hot streak against a very strong lineup. It will be a familiar face on the mound for the Rangers (21-13) as a former division rival in Andrew Heaney (2-2, 5.52 ERA) is back in the AL West and the lefty will face a Mariners team he has had mixed results against in his career.
It is time for a change. I love Julio Rodriguez. I think he is the future of baseball. But he needs to spend some time out of the leadoff spot. There is way too much pressure on him to perform and just a couple weeks down in the lineup could do him wonders. And it could help out other’s as well. If a guy like J.P. Crawford is leading off, he could continue to get on base at a great rate like he is now. That will give Ty France and Jarred Kelenic more opportunities to hit with guys on. And Julio is not the only guy to blame. Teoscar Hernandez has to cut down on his strikeouts and as a whole the offense needs to be getting the ball in the air more than they have been. A shakeup is needed before the confidence in the team is beyond repair.
- Jon Gray (W, 2-1)- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO
- Marcus Semien- 2-4, R
- Jonah Heim- 1-3, RBI
- Logan Gilbert (L, 1-2)- 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO
- Ty France- 1-3, HR, RBI, R
- Jose Caballero- 2-3, SB