(St. Petersburg, FL) For the Seattle Mariners, this nine-game road trip had been broken down into three tiers. They would play a World Series contender in Cleveland, a team at the very bottom of the National League in Miami, and a team that is always in the mix in the playoff picture in Tampa Bay. The first two series were both rough for the M’s but a series win over Tampa Bay would help ease the pain from losing four of the first six games on the road trip.

Always a challenging team, Tampa Bay came into the series with a wave of momentum as the Rays were coming off of a very successful road trip. While the starting rotation and lineup have not been as strong as we have seen in years past, the Rays have all the pieces to grab a Wild Card spot and get into the postseason. For the Mariners, the series would be just another gut punch as the division lead continued to shrink.

Rays 4, Mariners 3 (Game 1, June 24th)

Game on at Tropicana Field would be a little bit of a homecoming for Luke Raley as he made his return to Tampa Bay after being traded by the Rays to the Mariners this offseason. The return in that trade was Jose Caballero who faced his former team for the first time as well. In the pitching matchup, Bryan Woo would look to shake off a rough outing in Cleveland when he took the mound for the Mariners against Taj Bradley for the Rays.

Tampa Bay was getting runners on early and often as the Rays had baserunners in each of the first three innings. Meanwhile, the Mariners did not record their first hit against Taj Bradley until J.P. Crawford’s single in the 3rd. Neither pitcher let a run score until the 4th. In the top half, Cal Raleigh ended a homerless drought emphatically. Without a homer since his walk-off grand slam against Chicago, Raleigh clobbered a fastball right down the middle, launching it 423-feet out to right center. The solo shot was Raleigh’s 13th of the season and gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

Vibes then hit a low in the bottom half of the 4th. After Richie Palacios began the inning with a single, Bryan Woo delivered a pitch to Taylor Walls and immediately grabbed his right hamstring. After trying to loosen it up, Woo was pulled from the game and eventually placed on the IL with a right hamstring strain. The latest bad break for Woo also put the Mariners in a tough spot as they were forced to go to their bullpen early. Tayler Saucedo entered and struggled out of the gate. An error by Saucedo on a pickoff attempt allowed Palacios to get to third and a wild pitch followed to score Palacios as well. A couple of singles forced Scott Servais to take out Saucedo and Trent Thornton pitched out of the inning but Tampa Bay had tied things at 1-1.

Both bullpens would then battle it out as the game remained tied going into the 7th. Chris Devinski took over for Tampa Bay but he also had some problems. Dominic Canzone reached with a leadoff walk and Mitch Garver would come to the plate. On the seventh pitch of the AB, Devinski challenged the Mariner DH with a 3-2 fastball in the middle of the plate. Garver was ready for it and swatted his ninth home run of the season out to left. The two-run shot was the second home run by Mariner catchers in the game and put Seattle up 3-1.

Following Ryne Stanek’s scoreless inning, Austin Voth took over in the bottom of the 8th and things looked easy for him as he retired Isaac Paredes and Richie Palacios with two quick flyouts. Then things unraveled. A walk to Taylor Walls brought the tying run to the plate in Jose Siri. The former Astro singled back up the middle to set the table for Ben Rortvedt and he would begin his big series here. A line drive down into the left field corner would hop over the wall for a ground-rule double, giving Rortvedt his eighth two-bagger of the season. A run scored to make it 3-2 and put runners on second and third. Andrés Muñoz would have to come in once again in the 8th inning to face Jose Caballero. Muñoz walked him to load the bases as Tampa Bay used Jonny DeLuca as a pinch runner at second, representing the go-ahead run. Yandy Díaz would come to the plate and hit a chopper over to Ty France at first. A nasty hop saw the ball get by the Mariner first baseman and into right field. Both Siri and DeLuca scored on the bad break for Seattle and Tampa Bay had stormed back to take a 4-3 lead.

Photo by @Mariners on X

Tampa Bay closer Pete Fairbanks would be the hurdle that the Mariners had to get over to keep the game alive. A quick three-pitch strikeout to Mitch Garver was not the start that the M’s wanted. Josh Rojas would send a fly ball to fairly deep center, but the ball was caught by Jose Siri. J.P. Crawford could not come through either as he struck out swinging to close out the opener. A tough injury and a bad bounce was the difference in this one as Seattle dropped a heartbreaker to Tampa Bay 4-3.

Notable Performances


  • Mitch Garver- 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, R
  • Cal Raleigh- 1-2, HR, RBI, R, 2 BB
  • Bryan Woo (ND)- 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO


  • Yandy Díaz- 2-5, 2 RBI
  • Ben Rortvedt- 1-4, 2B, RBI
  • Taj Bradley (ND)- 5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO

Rays 11, Mariners 3 (Game 2, June 25th)

While the opener was just a bad break for Seattle, game two was an offensive explosion for Tampa Bay. While the Mariners felt good with Luis Castillo on the mound, their bats would have a tough time solving Zack Littell. The result was a rough night for the M’s.

It didn’t take long for Tampa Bay to get to La Piedra. On the first pitch of the game, Yandy Díaz sent a fly ball very deep out to left field and it would just stay fair for a solo home run. It was the seventh of the season for Díaz and put Tampa Bay up 1-0. An inning later, the Rays doubled their lead. The seventh double of the season for Richie Palacios started the inning with some noise and Jose Siri capitalized on the opportunity. A base hit to right field scored Palacios and two innings into the game Tampa Bay had a 2-0 lead over Luis Castillo and the Mariners.

Seattle only had one hit through the first four innings and it was off the bat of Ty France. The Mariner first baseman had a much bigger hit in the 5th. Jorge Polanco caught a break with a swinging bunt up the third base line that stayed fair and gave the switch hitter an infield single. Two batters later, Ty France hit a ball quite a bit farther than Polanco’s. A slider that hung up and over the plate was a rare mistake for Littell and France took advantage. A no-doubter was sent out to left center for France’s eighth home run of the season. The two-run shot undid all the early success for Tampa Bay as the Mariners had tied things up at 2-2.

Luis Castillo worked his way out of trouble in the bottom of the 5th but was not as fortunate in the next inning. Back-to-back one out walks to Richie Palacios and Jose Siri put a couple of runners on and ended Castillo’s day. Scott Servais went to the bullpen and brought in Mike Baumann who did not receive a warm welcome. Taylor Walls immediately put the Rays back out in front with his first triple of the year, scoring two and making it 4-2 Rays. Ben Rortvedt matched Walls’ two RBI and the Tampa Bay catcher launched his third home run of the year out to right center. Tampa Bay capitalized on some free passes and extra base hits as the Rays took a 6-2 lead.

Mitch Garver’s 10th home run of the season got the M’s a run back in the 7th, making it 6-3. From that point on, it was all Tampa Bay. A two-out RBI single by Richie Palacios got that run back for the Rays in the bottom of the 7th, and they threatened for much more. A walk to Jose Siri and a single for Taylor Walls loaded the bases for Ben Rortvedt who hurt the Mariners again. A base hit to left scored two as the Rays erupted with two outs and opened up their lead to 9-3.

A two-run shot by Isaac Paredes would make it 11-3 as the game turned to the 9th. Edwin Uceta stayed on for his second inning of work for the Rays and made quick work of the Mariners. Luke Raley, Mitch Garver, and Jorge Polanco were retired in order to put an end to the misery. The 11-3 loss to the Rays handed the Mariners their third consecutive series defeat and saw their AL West lead cut down even more.

Notable Performances


  • Ty France- 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, R
  • Mitch Garver- 1-4, HR, RBI, R
  • Luis Castillo (L, 6-9)- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO


  • Ben Rortvedt- 2-3, HR, 4 RBI, R, BB
  • Taylor Walls- 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI, R
  • Zack Littell (ND)- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO

Mariners 5, Rays 2 (Game 3, June 26th)

Tampa Bay looked to do what no other team had done this season as they looked to sweep the Seattle Mariners for the first time in 2024. George Kirby would be the man looking to prevent that as he got the start in the finale for the Mariners against Tampa Bay’s Ryan Pepiot.

A double by J.P. Crawford was the most action for either team early until the Rays got going in the bottom of the 3rd. The 11th double of the season by former Mariner, Jose Caballero, put a runner in scoring position with nobody out. Yandy Díaz would hit a weak chopper over towards first that was snagged by Kirby coming off the mound. Kirby looked to see if there was a play at third and turned around to find that Ty France had also moved to make a play on the ball. Kirby tried to beat Díaz to first base but couldn’t and Caballero took advantage of that decision. The pesky baserunner scored all the way from second on the week chopper, giving the Rays a 1-o lead.

The Mariner bats continued to struggle as they entered the top of the 6th with still just one hit. J.P. Crawford did not change that, but did reach with a one out walk. Kevin Cash would pull his starter and gave the ball to reliever Shawn Armstrong. The righty got Josh Rojas to hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out with Rojas taking over on first. Julio Rodríguez would then put together a massive at-bat. After quickly falling behind 0-2, J-Rod fouled off three two-strike pitches as he worked the count full. On the ninth pitch of the AB, Julio drew a walk to keep the line moving and bring Cal Raleigh to the plate with runners on first and second. While there aren’t assists in baseball, Cal would have to give one to Julio as Raleigh changed the game with one swing. Raleigh smoked a 93-mph fastball and the ball left Raleigh’s bat at 110-mph. Everyone just watched as Raleigh’s 14th home run of the season flew out to right as he circled the bases with the Mariners now leading 3-1.

George Kirby finished his very strong outing after six innings of one run ball, allowing four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Before the bullpen took over, Seattle opened it up a bit more. Kevin Kelly came in to pitch the top of the 7th and Mitch Garver and Dominic Canzone welcomed him with back-to-back singles. Dylan Moore moved up both runners with a sacrifice bunt, but Ryan Bliss couldn’t take advantage as he went down swinging for the second out. That turned the lineup card over to J.P. Crawford who looked to come through with two outs. Crawford would get the job done as he went down and got a sinker below the zone and flicked it out to left center. Garver and Canzone both scored easily and Crawford’s two-out, two-run single gave the Mariners some breathing room as the lead grew to 5-1.

Andrés Muñoz came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th but the usually reliable closer just did not have it on Wednesday. He would walk Josh Lowe and Randy Arozarena on 10 total pitches to bring Isaac Paredes to the plate. On the eighth pitch of the AB, Muñoz hit Paredes to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate in Richie Palacios. Scott Servais had seen enough and pulled his closer, bringing in Trent Thornton to try to clean up the mess. Thornton got Palacios to hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice, but a run did score making it 5-2. With runners on the corners, Amed Rosario dug in representing the tying run. Another groundball was sent out to J.P. at short and this time it was a routine 6-4-3 double play. Thornton had worked out of the dangerous situation as the Mariners avoided the sweep with a nerve-wracking 5-2 win.

Notable Performances


  • Cal Raleigh- 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, R, 2 BB
  • J.P. Crawford- 2-3- 2B, 2 RBI, BB
  • George Kirby (W, 7-5)- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO


  • Jose Caballero- 3-3, 2B, R
  • Yandy Díaz- 2-4, RBI
  • Ryan Pepiot (ND)- 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO

What’s Next

A 3-6 road trip finally comes to an end as the Seattle Mariners (46-37) now return home for a nine-game homestand. To add insult to injury, Houston has won seven straight games and the Seattle division lead is down to just 4 1/2 games over the Astros. Texas has also been playing better but were swept by Milwaukee and now sit 7 1/2 games behind the Mariners. Houston will face a red hot team this weekend when they head to Queens for a three-game series with the New York Mets. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers remain on the road and face another stiff challenge as they will visit the Baltimore Orioles for a four-game series.

First up for Seattle on their difficult homestand will be a team that currently holds a playoff spot as the M’s will host the Minnesota Twins (44-36) for a four-game series. Minnesota will be coming off of a rubber game in their three-game series in Arizona. When the Mariners visited the Twins back in May, it was a nightmare for the M’s. While the scores were close, the Twins really did a number on Mariner starting pitching as they took three of four from Seattle. While Luis Castillo recorded a quality start, both George Kirby and Logan Gilbert really struggled against a pretty deep lineup for the Twins. The Mariner bats also struggled against a disappointing rotation for the Twins and both the pitching and bats have to be much better than they were back in May.

While we could look at the Minnesota rotation, we have to instead take a peak at a familiar face in this spotlight. While he had not been bad as a Twin, Carlos Correa has found the same form he had when he was with Houston in the month of June. Always an elite defender at shortstop, Correa has put together his best month at the plate since joining Minnesota back in 2022. In the month of June, Correa is hitting .389 and slugging .567. With four home runs and four doubles this month, Correa has been that guy Minnesota has needed in the middle of their order. 19 RBI is the big number that jumps off the page. However, while Carlos Correa did have a good series when these two teams met in May, he has really struggled against Seattle since becoming a Twin. Correa is just hitting .189 with the Twins against the Mariners with 21 strikeouts. If that trend can continue, the M’s should be able to keep these games close. If Correa can buck those numbers and continue his torrent month of June, the Mariners skid will likely continue.

  • Game 1, Friday 6:40pm- Bailey Ober (7-4, 4.50 ERA) vs. Logan Gilbert (5-4, 2.71 ERA)
  • Game 2, Saturday 7:10pm- Pablo López (7-6, 5.11 ERA) vs. Bryce Miller (6-6, 3.90 ERA)
  • Game 3, Sunday 1:10pm- Joe Ryan (5-5, 3.31 ERA) vs. TBD




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