(Seattle, WA) Normally one could expect the schedule to lighten up after playing the two teams that competed in the World Series just last fall. For the Seattle Mariners, it actually got tougher as they concluded their six-game homestand by welcoming the owners of the best record in baseball to Seattle in the Atlanta Braves. With the pitching carrying the load over the past few weeks for the M’s, they were going to get tested more than they had all season against a lineup that is stacked from top to bottom with sluggers. However, Atlanta also possesses a strong rotation that, despite injuries, remains a very tough task for many offenses in the league. It would be a three-game litmus test to see how legit the Mariners are and the potential that could still be.

Mariners 2, Braves 1 (Game 1, April 29th)

What turned out to be the best pitching matchup of the series and possibly of the season so far, Bryce Miller took on Max Fried in a pitcher’s duel for the ages. With Miller having a better start to his second year than anyone could have imagined and Fried coming off of a complete game shutout, runs were going to be at a premium and it was going to be a rough day for both lineups.

It was everything pitching fans had imagined and even more. Max Fried had to throw a lot of pitches early but was able to hang all zeros throughout his entire outing. With a walk to Mitch Garver in the bottom of the 2nd, Fried was in trouble pitch count wise as he escaped that inning but was already at 32 pitches. The left settled in after that and managed to get through six innings of no-hit baseball only allowing two walks and striking out seven. Fried consistently kept the Mariner hitters off-balance with his fastball, curveball, and changeup all being mixed in frequently. Seattle could not manage to get anything going against Fried but did manage to chase him after six innings with some really good at-bats early.

Somehow Bryce Miller surpassed what Fried was doing on the other side of things. The second-year big leaguer rolled through the potent Atlanta lineup and had a better outing than Fried through six innings. That was because Miller retired the first 16 batters he faced and was perfect through five innings. He also managed to keep his pitch count down by challenging the Braves hitters with fastballs up in the zone. However, the nasty rotation on the ball that Miller is known for was too deceiving for the Atlanta bats and Miller struck out eight in his first six innings of work with just one walk allowed. Through six innings of this game, neither team had a hit and baseball fans from around the world began to focus in on what was happening in Seattle.

In the top of the 7th, Atlanta would finally get to Bryce Miller. Leading off the inning, reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a hard grounder back up the middle. Dylan Moore would try to make a play on it, but the ball went off his glove into center field. The official scorer was booed as they announced it was ruled as a base hit (which was the correct ruling), but the fans quickly dialed back in as the situation got even worse. The speedy Acuña would steal both second and third to put the go-ahead run 90-feet away with nobody out. Ozzie Albies got the job done as he smoked one to right center that got over Mitch Haniger’s head. Acuña Jr. scored on Albies ninth double of the season and Atlanta had a 1-0 lead.

After Bryce Miller’s day was done after seven innings of one-run ball with just the two hits allowed and one walk with ten strikeouts, the Mariner bullpen did a great job of keeping that deficit where it was at. Cody Bolton pitched a scoreless 8th and the M’s got the offense going a bit in the bottom of the 8th. With Joe Jiménez taking over for Atlanta, Seattle would begin the inning with a Ty France walk to put the tying runner on. Josh Rojas would then pinch hit for Dylan Moore and hit a grounder through into right field for the first Mariner hit of the game. Luis Urías would strikeout for the first out, but Luke Raley reached on an infield single to load the bases with just one out and the top of the order coming to the plate. Julio Rodriguez could not come through as he flew out to shallow left field for the first out and the runners had to stay where they were at despite the speedy Leo Rivas running for France. Mitch Haniger would have to be the guy but he chased a 1-2 slider and struck out, leaving the bases loaded and the M’s still in a 1-0 hole.

Austin Voth struck out the side in the top of the 9th after giving up a leadoff single to former Mariner Jarred Kelenic. Atlanta brought in AJ Minter to try to close things out, but some new, struggling Mariners weren’t going to make it easy. Jorge Polanco jumped on a first pitch fastball and sent it into left field for a single to begin the inning. That brought Mitch Garver to the plate and he got ahead 3-0. Minter battled back with a couple of strikes to run the count full and Garver did not swing at any of the first five pitches. He swung at pitch number six and it was the final pitch of the game. A cutter up in the zone was annihilated out to left field and over the bullpens for a walk-off two-run shot for the Mariner DH. He dropped the bat and let out a sigh of relief before circling the bases on his third home run of the season. T-Mobile Park erupted and began to celebrate as Garver was swarmed by his teammates at home plate as the M’s earned their second walk-off win of the season defeating the Braves in the opener 2-1.

Notable Performances


  • Max Fried (ND)- 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
  • Ozzie Albies- 1-4, 2B, RBI


  • Bryce Miller (ND)- 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO
  • Mitch Garver- 1-3, Walk-Off HR, 2 RBI, R, BB


Mariners 3, Braves 2 (Game 2, April 30th)

While it wasn’t quite like the opener, game two of the series was once again a good pitching matchup between Reynaldo López and Luis Castillo. La Piedra had been very strong in his last two outings while López came into the game with an ERA under 1.00. Runs were once again going to be tough to come by and neither side could afford to squander any opportunities.

Both teams recorded hits in the 1st inning as Ozzie Albies and Josh Rojas made sure their would be no talks of no-hitters in this one. In the bottom of the 3rd, Seattle would push across the first runs of the game. A one out walk for Rojas put him on for the second time in as many plate appearances, but he remained on first with two outs. Jorge Polanco would continue to dig himself out of the early slump that he had been in as he got a changeup right down the middle. Hitting from the left side of the plate, Polanco smoked a 107-mph line drive into the stands in right for his fourth home run of the year. It was just the second home run allowed by López on the year and it gave the M’s the 2-0 lead.

Luis Castillo got out of danger in the top of the 4th after giving up a walk to Matt Olson and a single to Marcell Ozuna. La Piedra would bounce back by striking out Orlando Arcia and getting Michael Harris II to groundout to Polanco to end the inning. The offense rewarded him with more run support in the home half of the inning. Singles for Mitch Haniger and Luke Raley had runners on first and second with two outs and Dylan Moore coming to the plate. With Moore struggling at the plate since taking over for the injured J.P. Crawford, D-Mo made sure to capitalize on this two-out RBI opportunity. Moore gave a 1-0 slider a ride out off the wall in left for extra bases. Haniger scored from second while Raley stopped at third the Moore’s third double of the year. While Seattle couldn’t tack on more, they would settle for taking a 3-0 lead going into the 5th.

It was another dominant outing for the Mariner ace as Luis Castillo continued to put his bumpy start to 2024 in the rearview mirror. La Piedra retired the last 11 hitters he faced as he continued where Miller left off with more dominant pitching against one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Castillo would have his day come to an end after seven shutout innings and allowed just three hits and walked one while punching out seven. With some major concerns about Castillo early on, both the fans and coaching staff could finally relax as Castillo showed he is back to his normal dominant self.

Photo by @Mariners on X

Of course it wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows for the Mariners as chaos ball giveth and chaos ball taketh away. Ryne Stanek pitched the top of the 8th and after giving up a single to Travis d’Arnaud on the first pitch he threw, spiked a wild pitch on his second pitch to put a runner in scoring position. Jarred Kelenic followed with an infield single before Ronald Acuña Jr. lined out for the first out of the inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Ozzie Albies hurt the M’s again with a single to left to drive in d’Arnaud and make it a 3-1 game. Andrés Muñoz had to come in early to try to put out the fire, but things got worse. Austin Riley hit a soft grounder down the first baseline. Muñoz would field it, but threw it down the right field line and the error allowed Kelenic to score to make it 3-2 with runners on second and third and still just one out. The bases would become loaded when Scott Servais decided to intentionally walk Matt Olson and take his chances with Marcell Ozuna. The gamble paid off when Muñoz struck out Ozuna for a massive second out. Orlando Arcia hit a soft grounder to Dylan Moore at short and Moore fell down as he put everything into his throw to first that just got Arcia to end the inning and kill the Braves rally. Seattle would cling to a 3-2 lead going into the 9th.

Andrés Muñoz would go back out to pitch the final inning and looked for his first career five out save. After having to stress out the 8th, it would be a pretty calm 9th for the Mariners. Muñoz struck out Michael Harris II on a 3-2 slider on the eighth pitch of the AB. He would then get Travis d’Arnaud to line out to Julio in center for a quick second out, bringing Jarred Kelenic to the plate as the last chance for Atlanta. It felt like a movie script as Kelenic could hurt his former team. But this was Seattle and not Hollywood. Muñoz dispatched Kelenic with a 1-2 slider to end the game and give the Mariners the 3-2 win. Back-to-back intense wins in a playoff atmosphere earned the M’s their fifth consecutive series win and a chance at the sweep in the finale.

Notable Performances


  • Ozzie Albies- 2-4, RBI
  • Reynaldo López (L, 2-1)- 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO


  • Luis Castillo (W, 3-4)- 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
  • Jorge Polanco- 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, R
  • Dylan Moore- 1-3, 2B, RBI, Run Saving Play at Shortstop


Braves 5, Mariners 2 (Game 3, May 1st)

A little Wednesday matinee ended the series in Seattle between the Mariners and Braves. After two highly dramatic and intense games the first couple of days, this one started off looking similar before things began to unravel as the M’s attempted to sweep the dominant Braves.

Things got tough early in this one for Seattle. Emerson Hancock did not have his best command but would throw a scoreless first two innings. In the top of the 3rd, singles for Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley had runners on first and second with two outs. An errant pickoff attempt from Hancock moved runners to second and third, and a walk to Matt Olson loaded the bases for Marcell Ozuna. Seattle did a tremendous job in limiting the damage Ozuna had done to this point in the series, but the dangerous righty was able to work a walk to score the first run of the game and make it 1-0 Atlanta. Hancock would then get Adam Duvall to fly out to center to minimize the damage and keep the deficit at one.

After Seattle left a couple of runners on in the bottom of the 3rd, things spiraled out of control in the 4th. A fly ball down the right field line looked like a fairly routine play for Mitch Haniger but would turn into the deciding play of the game. Haniger dropped it to allow Orlando Arcia to get to second with one out on the error. He was still their with two outs but Ronald Acuña Jr. would drive him in with a base hit to left to make it 2-0. Ozzie Albies also reached on a single to bring up Austin Riley. The third baseman sent a deep fly ball to right field and Haniger crashed into the wall in an attempt to make the catch but could not haul it in. Acuña and Albies scored as Riley was in at third with his second triple of the year. He would then score on a Matt Olson single off of Trent Thornton as Atlanta had opened it up and taken a 5-0 lead.

It looked like Seattle would chip into that lead in the bottom of the 4th when they loaded the bases. However, a generous strike zone for veteran Chris Sale would hurt the Mariners often in this one. Sam Haggerty lined out to end that threat but Seattle had another one in the 5th. A leadoff double for Seby Zavala put a runner in scoring position but Julio Rodriguez grounded out and Mitch Haniger struck out for two quick outs. With Zavala on third, Jorge Polanco came through with a bloop single over Matt Olson’s head at first base to score the first Mariner run of the game. There was still work to do, but Seattle was on the board down 5-1.

A sight for sore eyes in the bottom of the 7th was a double for Julio Rodriguez as the face of the franchise continues to try to find some more consistency at the plate. His fourth double of the year put a man in scoring position with one out. After Haniger flew out for the second out, Polanco would come up with another two-out knock. The switch hitter did it from the right side of the plate with a liner into left to score J-Rod. Four RBI in two games continued to build Polanco’s confidence as the M’s still trailed 5-2.

The score remained the same going into the bottom of the 9th. Raisel Iglesias would look to close things out for the Braves but did not get off to a good start when Luke Raley reached on a pinch hit walk to leadoff the inning. Julio followed with his third hit of the game to put runners on first and second. Mitch Haniger had a chance for redemption but a fly out to right would be the first out of the inning. Jorge Polanco would come to the plate representing the tying run, but he would similarly fly out to center for a second out. Cal Raleigh would be the M’s last chance, but he would hit a soft tapper right back to Iglesias. A toss to first would end the game as the M’s dropped the finale and came up short of the sweep with a 5-2 loss.

Notable Performances


  • Austin Riley- 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI, R, BB
  • Ronald Acuña Jr.- 2-5, RBI, 2 R
  • Chris Sale (W, 4-1)- 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO


  • Jorge Polanco- 2-5, 2 RBI
  • Julio Rodriguez- 3-5, 2B, R
  • Emerson Hancock (L, 3-3)- 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO

Matt’s Takeaways

Well I have been avoiding doing my takeaways because the team has been winning but I can’t just keep avoiding it all season. This team is exactly what we thought they were. The pitching is out of this world. Between the rotation and the bullpen, Seattle will have a chance in every series they play in all year long. Matt Brash being shutdown indefinitely is a massive blow to the bullpen, but Seattle continues to just make all these relievers find their groove and turn into superstars. There is no doubt in my mind that Seattle has the best rotation in baseball 1-5 and you can actually make it 1-6. Every pitcher is dialed in and the M’s have four legit aces in their rotation with Woo and Hancock having ace level stuff when they are on their A-game.

The offense is rough. Hopefully this series gets Garver and Polanco going as they both had good success. Cal Raleigh is going to be hot and cold which is exactly what we expect because the good outweighs the bad with the catcher. Julio Rodriguez is still the key and he needs to start driving the baseball. The high average is nice, but J-Rod is a guy that has to drive in runs. One home run in April is not an ideal start to the season but not an unfamiliar one. There is still a long way to go. In football terms, we are three full games in. The offense has nowhere to go but up and the pitching won’t drop too much if at all. First place after one month of the season is great, but if the offense and pitching can both click in May, the M’s have a chance to build a nice cushion ahead of a struggling AL West.

What’s Next

After a brutal nine-game stretch, things lighten up a bit on this next seven-game road trip. With recent trends, it will still not be easy. First up for the AL West leading Seattle Mariners (17-14) is three-games against the Houston Astros (10-20) in an AL West battle. The Astros have really struggled this season as they sit at the bottom of the division but they have shown signs of life recently. Three straight wins over the weekend and into Tuesday have got the offense going and Houston will have the top of their rotation going against the Mariners. Sunday’s starter is up in the air for the Astros as Cristian Javier could come off the IL and make his return then which would make things even tougher for the Mariner bats in what will be a grueling series.

  • Game 1, Friday 5:10pm- George Kirby (3-2, 4.18 ERA) vs. Ronel Blanco (3-0, 1.65 ERA)
  • Game 2, Saturday 4:15pm (FOX)- Logan Gilbert (2-0, 2.03 ERA) vs. Framber Valdez (1-0, 2.60 ERA)
  • Game 3, Sunday 11:10am- Bryce Miller (3-2, 2.04 ERA) vs. Hunter Brown (0-4, 9.78 ERA)



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