Rangers 4, Mariners 3
(Seattle, WA) Ace Luis Castillo was exactly who the Seattle Mariners wanted on the mound for the rubber game of their three-game series with the AL West leading Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. La Piedra has been incredible since arriving in Seattle last summer and carried that over into 2023. Unfortunately, it would be a tough outing for Castillo in the finale. A high pitch count led to the shortest outing of the season for Castillo and Seattle missed out on a couple of late opportunities as Seattle dropped the finale to Texas by a final score of 4-3.
The Mariners landed the first blow early against Texas starter Dane Dunning. With a lineup change, J.P. Crawford moved up to the leadoff spot and drew a walk to start the bottom of the 1st. Ty France followed with a single to down towards the left field line. Crawford would go to third and the throw from Grossman would get by Marcus Semien covering second. Crawford ended up scoring on the error while France was thrown out trying to sneak into second but the M’s had taken a 1-0 lead.
After getting out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the 2nd, Luis Castillo ran into more trouble in the top of the 3rd. Marcus Semien got things going for the Rangers with a solo bomb to left field to tie the game at 1-1. After that, Robbie Grossman reached on a single before Nathaniel Lowe put on the best at-bat of the game. In a ten-pitch battle, Lowe finally got the best of Castillo with his 11th double of the season. Grossman scored from first to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Castillo battled back with back-to-back strikeouts for the first two outs of the inning. Jonah Heim would continue his great success against the Mariners with his eighth double of the season to score Lowe and make it 3-1 Texas. Luis Castillo would end up with 98 pitches in his five innings of work after only throwing seven pitches in the 1st.
While Julio Rodriguez only had one hit, he did put together three good at-bats but that one hit was a leadoff single in the bottom of the 5th. After a couple of strikeouts, Kolten Wong turned it into a two out rally with a base hit to left field to move Julio to third. J.P. Crawford showcased once again that he might be the early Mariner MVP with an RBI single to cut it to a one-run game at 3-2.
Texas got that run right back in the top of the 6th. With a runner on second and one out, Josh H. Smith reached on a single to put runners on the corners. Marcus Semien then singled off of Matt Brash to score Ezequiel Duran to get Texas some breathing room with a 4-2 lead. Brash and Gabe Speier recorded strikeouts to end the Rangers threat and keep Seattle within striking distance.
The bottom of the 8th was the last gasp for the M’s. After Jose Caballero was hit to leadoff the inning, Brock Burke retired Crawford and France to put the Mariners in a tough spot. Jarred Kelenic would come through with two outs. Kelenic continued his breakout campaign with his first triple of the season to score Caballero and make it 4-3. With the tying run on third and two outs, Eugenio Suarez battled from down 0-2 to draw a walk. Suarez then took second on fielder’s indifference and a base hit from Cal Raleigh would give the Mariners a chance to take the lead. Raleigh put up a great fight in a nine-pitch at-bat but ended up striking out swinging to end the threat. Seattle would go down in order in the 9th against Will Smith to end the game and giving the Rangers a 4-3 win to take the series 2-1.
Seattle (18-19) finishes the homestand with a record of 3-3 and will now head on the road for a nine-game road trip starting with three games against the Detroit Tigers (17-19) starting on Friday at 3:40pm. Marco Gonzales (2-0, 4.70 ERA) will try to lower that ERA against a former teammate in Matthew Boyd (2-2, 5.28 ERA) who gets the start for Detroit. The Seattle native Matthew Boyd was a part of the Seattle Mariners last season and gave one of the most emotional interviews after Seattle ended the playoff drought last September.
I will make this short and sweet. The Mariners have to stop striking out so much. Normally, when the home run numbers are up, so are the strikeout numbers. However, the Mariners are striking out without hitting home runs. The M’s are 22nd in home runs this season with 38. No team has struck out more than the Mariners who have been punched out 362 times so far this season. The chase rate is way too high. The lineup needs more patience. If they continue to strikeout at this rate, it doesn’t matter how good the pitching is. And don’t over look Detroit this weekend. This isn’t the same Tigers team we have seen in recent years.
- Marcus Semien- 2-5, HR, 2 RBI, R
- Nathaniel Lowe- 1-5, 2B, RBI, R
- Dane Dunning (W, 3-0)- 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
- J.P. Crawford- 1-3, RBI, R, BB
- Jarred Kelenic- 2-4, 3B, RBI
- Luis Castillo (L, 2-1)- 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO