Rangers 6, Mariners 1
(Seattle, WA) Still one game out of a playoff spot coming into the final weekend of the 2023 regular season, the Seattle Mariners still had a pulse in the playoff chase. The M’s had to take care of business against a Texas Rangers team that was still just one win away from locking up their own playoff berth. After an electric first couple of games in this four-game series, Seattle tried to keep the fire alive on Saturday night. It would turn out to be a dark and stormy night for the Mariners as the fire died in a big way as the M’s were mathematically eliminated, in part due to a 6-1 loss to the Rangers.
With their ace on the mound in Luis Castillo, the Mariners felt really good about their chances in this one. In became clear early that Castillo did not have his best stuff, but he was at least keeping the Rangers off the board. Then, in the top of the 3rd, things fell apart rapidly. A walk to Marcus Semien to begin the inning did not seem like a big deal after La Piedra got Corey Seager to fly out to left and struck out Robbie Grossman for two outs. A soft tapper then allowed Adolis Garcia to reach on an infield single to put runners at first and second. Soft hits became the norm for Texas in this half inning. Nathaniel Lowe added a seeing eye single that got into center field. That hit scored Semien and gave Texas a 1-0 lead. Josh Jung then walked to load the bases for Jonah Heim and things started to unravel. Another grounder just got through the infield and into right for another hit. This one drove in two runs to make it 3-0. A soft line drive for Leody Taveras sat down in right field to cap off the nightmare inning and Luis Castillo’s shortest outing as a Mariner. Six consecutive Rangers reached with two outs and Texas had built a 4-0 lead.
A bases loaded walk added another run for the Rangers in the 4th to make it 5-0. In the bottom of the 5th, Seattle got the crowd back alive. Singles from Ty France, Sam Haggerty, and J.P. Crawford loaded the bases with just one out and the meat of the Mariner order coming up. Julio Rodriguez would get the first shot at the bases loaded opportunity, facing new pitcher Josh Sborz. It took just two pitches for Julio to hit a fly ball into left field that was too shallow to score France as their were then two outs. In stepped Eugenio Suarez trying to clutch up for the M’s but it was not mean to be. A groundout to his counterpart Josh Jung at third ended the inning as the Mariners left the bases loaded as time was ticking on their playoff bid.
A leadoff walk for Evan Carter in the top of the 8th just gave Texas the opportunity to add-on. Marcus Semien wasted no time in doing so with his 40th double of the season to score Carter to make it 6-0. Eugenio Suarez helped the M’s avoid a shutout with his 22nd home run of the season in the bottom of the 8th, making it 6-1. Needing a big comeback in the bottom of the 9th, Seattle just could not get the job done this time. A 1-2-3 inning would put an end to this one as the Mariners dropped this game to the Rangers 6-1. The team then went to the clubhouse and watched the Houston Astros put an end to their season as Houston defeated Arizona.
With the Seattle loss and a win for the Houston Astros, the Mariners are now eliminated from playoff contention. All 12 playoff teams have been decided as in the American League, Baltimore, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Texas, Houston, and Toronto will battle for the AL pennant with the AL West being decided on Sunday. In the National League, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Arizona, and Miami have all locked up their spots in the postseason. The Mariners (87-74) will wrap up the 2023 campaign on Sunday at 1:10pm as they try to at least end the season with a win. George Kirby (12-10, 3.46 ERA) will make the final start of his first All-Star season. Kirby was sensational on Tuesday when he threw six scoreless innings in a win over Houston. For the Texas Rangers (90-71) it will be Dane Dunning (12-6, 3.72 ERA) getting the start in the regular season finale. Dunning gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a win last Friday against Seattle.
- Jonah Heim- 1-4, 3 RBI, BB
- Nathaniel Lowe- 2-4, 3B, RBI, R, BB
- Andrew Heaney (ND)- 4.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO
- Eugenio Suarez- 1-4, HR, RBI, R
- J.P. Crawford- 2-4
- Luis Castillo (L, 14-9)- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO