The Mariners two game home split against the Los Angeles Dodgers showed the young M’s how far they can go. The two game series also gave the Mariners a dose of reality. The Mariners won the first game 6-4 and were shut down by Dodger great Clayton Kershaw in a 6-1 loss.
In game one Pitcher Taijuan Walker picked up his second win of the season with a masterful performance. Walker struck out eight Dodgers to match his season high and went seven inning to bring his season record to 2-2. Despite allowing three solo homers Walker recorded his 500th career strikeout in the top of the 4th. Entering the game Walker had allowed just 2 home run in four starts. The growth and maturity Walker showed in adjusting his pitches was an encouraging sign he’s ready to be consistent big league pitcher.
“We said, ‘Let’s start pitching backwards,’” Walker said. “I was able to throw my offspeed for strikes. It was fun. It was nice making that adjustment midgame like that. Recognizing it early, Nola did an amazing job behind the plate. We switched up the game plan and executed really well.”
The Mariners firepower showed up as Austin Nola and Dylan Moore recorded a home run. Nola set a season high with 4 RBI’s in the game. Moore continues to be a double threat with his bat and feet . He is 1-of -3 players in the Majors with at least 5 home runs and 5 steals.
Kyle Lewis recorded his team leading 11th multi hit game of the season with two hits and a stolen base.
KERSHAW SHOWS HOW ITS DONE
If Walker showed glimpses of what he can become Dodger future hall of famer pitcher Clayton Kershaw showed how it’s done. Kershaw was simply brilliant in ensuring the Dodger would not lose two games in a row. The 19-8 Dodgers have lost back to back games just twice this season. Kershaw earned his 3rd win of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.25 after allowing just 1 run on 4 hits with 11strikouts in 7 innings.
The 11 strikeouts were a season high for Kershaw who moved to second on the Dodgers career strike out list with 2,487 . Don Sutton’s 2, 696 is number one on the list.The young Mariners gave it the old college try with a solo home run shot from Kyle Seger but the gulf in talent was obvious. If the Mariners stay focused , determined and continue to learn their day could arrive sooner than later.
“Oh, they’ve seen him, they just haven’t stood in the batter’s box against him,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “That’s the difference, no question about it. They’re learning. Against a veteran pitcher like that on top of his game, it’s a struggle. You’re not going to get a ton of pitches to hit, and when you do, you need to put them in play. Give him credit. He was really good today. Our guys learned a lot.”
Seattle Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi return to the mound after missing 12 days due to neck spasms and exited in the 5th inning with the bases loaded. Despite the loss the outing by Kikuchi was a moral victory as he work on regaining his strength.