Rangers 2, Mariners 0
(Arlington, TX) It’s not always how hard you hit the ball, but where you hit the ball. That was painfully apparent on Saturday when the Seattle Mariners took on the Texas Rangers in game two of their three-game series. After falling behind big early in the opener, this one never got away from the Mariners. That is what made it even more frustrating. The M’s continuously had runners on base with everyone getting an opportunity to drive in runs. Nobody could get the job done. Seattle dropped to 0-5 this season at Globe Life Field as Jordan Montgomery and the Rangers silenced the Mariners 2-0.
Consistent missed opportunities really hurt the Mariners in this one. Julio Rodriguez doubled in the top of the 1st for his 36th double of the season. A baserunning mistake would kill this opportunity when Teoscar Hernandez hit a grounder to Corey Seager at shortstop. Julio tried to move up to third but Seager would easily throw out Julio at third to cut down the lead runner. That ended Seattle’s initial threat and kept the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Adolis Garcia gave Texas their first scoring opportunity with a one-out double for his 28th of the season. Jonah Heim moved Garcia to third with a groundout to Jose Caballero at second. With two outs however, Logan Gilbert was one out away from escaping the trouble. Gilbert got Mitch Garver to hit a weak grounder off the end of the bat up the first baseline. It would just have enough juice to get into the outfield for the base hit. The seeing eye single was enough to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Another threat came for Seattle in the top of the 3rd. A one-out single for J.P. Crawford seemed very harmless, but Julio Rodriguez moved Crawford up with a groundout to third. A walk for Teoscar Hernandez had runners on first and second with two down. A 3-2 pitch to Cal Raleigh would not get the job done as Cal struck out swinging for the final out of the inning. In the top of the 4th, Dylan Moore crushed what looked like a solo home run to the deepest part of the park. Unfortunately for the Mariners, Moore would have to settle for a 416-foot double for his eighth double of the year. After Sam Haggerty walked to put runners on first and second again with two outs, Jose Caballero went down swinging again. Another wasted opportunity kept the M’s behind 1-0.
Logan Gilbert was grooving in the bottom of the 4th with two quick outs. A walk to Adolis Garcia was harmless at first, but after his ninth stolen base of the season moved him into scoring position, Seattle caught another bad break. Another soft hit ball would spell trouble for the M’s. Jonah Heim lofted a soft line drive in the perfect spot again to get into the outfield. Scoring was Garcia, and the Mariner deficit grew again to 2-0.
While Texas continued to get soft base hits, the Mariners hit absolute rockets with nothing to show for it. Anything that has an exit velocity of 95-mph or higher is considered a hard hit ball. Seattle had nine hard hit balls turn into nothing but outs in this ball game. All while Texas had a couple of RBI hits that were under 70-mph off the bat. Globe Life Field was not being friendly to the M’s but they still had a shot going into the 9th.
Texas opted to keep Jose Leclerc on the mound for a second inning of work and it started off good for the Rangers as he struck out Eugenio Suarez for the first out. After a single by Ty France brought the tying run to the plate, manager Bruce Bochy brought in Aroldis Chapman to try to seal the deal. He would put the tying run on immediately by walking Jarred Kelenic. Sam Haggerty stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run. A weak flyout to center put a damper on the comeback bid as the Mariners were down to their final out. The game would end disgustingly appropriately as Luis Torrens hit a rocket of a one-hopper at Corey Seager who handled the ball without issue. Seager threw out Torrens at first for the final out as Seattle suffered another devastating loss, 2-0.
A stretch of games that so many fans were fired up for have quickly become a nightmare for Mariner fans as Seattle (84-70) have quickly dropped the first two games. While they do fall farther behind Texas (86-68), both Houston and Toronto did lose on Saturday. Seattle sits two games back of the Rangers in the AL West, but are closer in the Wild Card chase. The M’s are still just 1 1/2 games back of Toronto for the second Wild Card and just half a game behind Houston for the final playoff spot in the American League. Avoiding the sweep is the top priority for the Mariners heading into Sunday’s finale at 11:35pm. Bryan Woo (4-4, 3.90 ERA) will look for some retribution against the team that spoiled his MLB debut. Back in June, Woo was roughed up by the Rangers, just going two innings and allowing six runs on seven hits. On a more positive note, Woo is currently riding a stretch of 13 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Texas flamethrower Nathan Eovaldi (11-4, 3.05 ERA) will look to help the Rangers complete the sweep and likely bury the Mariners in the AL West race. Eovaldi has not been going deep into games as of late since returning from an IL stint, but he did go five innings in his last time out against Boston. In his first and only start against the M’s this season, Eovaldi went six innings of scoreless ball, only allowing one hit and he did not walk a batter while striking out seven.
- Ty France- 2-4
- Dylan Moore- 1-3, 2B
- Logan Gilbert (L, 13-7)- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO
- Jordan Montgomery (W, 10-11)- 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
- Mitch Garver- 2-3, RBI
- Adolis Garcia- 2B, 2 R, BB, SB