Marco Gonzales continued his recent run of poor form, as the Mariners lost for the fourth time in five games on their current road trip.
During their recent 14-game winning streak, there was a genuine belief the Mariners were finally going to end the longest active postseason drought in the Majors. Since returning from the All-Star break however, there are fans beginning to wonder if this is yet another instance of false hope.
Following Monday night’s demoralizing 7-2 defeat to the Yankees, the M’s are now on a run of seven losses in their last 11 games. In fairness to Seattle though, this really is a case of a perfect storm.
The Mariners are currently in the process of playing the Yankees and Astros a combined 10 times since the All-Star game. Once they get past Wednesday’s series finale in New York, they have a favorable schedule for the remainder of the season.
In addition, it’s important to note how many of the M’s better bats are currently unavailable through injury. Without the likes of Julio Rodriguez, Ty France and Mitch Haniger, any team would struggle to manufacture hits on a consistent basis.
If nothing else, at least the Mariners remain in a wild card spot (although they have a more tenuous hold at the moment). And with Luis Castillo set to make his debut on Wednesday, the starting pitching has become even better.
The timing of Castillo’s arrival couldn’t be better, based on the evidence from Monday night. As much as the rotation has mostly been excellent of late, there has been some drop off – case in point being Marco Gonzales.
Gonzales couldn’t have started much worse, as he gave up a three-run homer in the very first inning. After another two runs in the bottom of the second, the Mariners found themselves in an early 5-1 hole.
With concerns surrounding the overworked bullpen, Gonzales regained his composure to a certain extent. However, he still ultimately only lasted 5.1 innings, and left having given up nine hits — tied for his second-most on the year — along with a season-high six earned runs.
The 30-year-old has now allowed at least five earned runs in three of his last four starts for the first time since May-June 2019. With his 11th loss, he is now also just two away from matching his career-worst, which was also set in 2019.
Even allowing for the addition of Castillo, the Mariners will be hoping Gonzales’ recent form is just a temporary issue. He had previously only once given up five earned runs in 17 starts this season.
From Gonzales’ perspective, he put Monday’s poor outing down more to errors as opposed to the Yankees just overpowering him. He said:
“I felt they took advantage of some pitches and some mistakes early. They certainly jumped on us in the strike zone. I thought we caught too much plate in the early going there … I tip my cap. They took advantage of some mistakes early.”
Manger Scott Servais added his own thoughts on what went wrong for Gonzales on the night. He said:
“He’s got to get into the secondary pitches right out of the chute. Those are his best pitches, and I think everybody knows that. The fastball you can use to set up as you go through it, but he wasn’t able to get there tonight.”
The irony of Gonzales’ performance was the timing of it, on a night when the Mariners actually had some semblance of offense even without Rodriguez, et al. They managed seven hits, albeit ultimately only resulting in two runs.
This was because Seattle failed to take full advantage of certain opportunities. Chief among these was in the third inning, when they had a bases loaded situation, but did not score a single run.
(On an individual level, Adam Frasier deserves some credit for his productivity overall with the bat. He recorded one hit on Monday night and now has hits in 19 of his past 22 games.)
Overall, there’s no denying it was an unsatisfactory night for the Mariners, although Servais did attempt to find some solace. He said:
“Not a great way to start the series, other than we should be a little bit rested in our bullpen now after a couple of rough days there. It puts us in better shape for tomorrow.”
Aside from the bullpen, the Mariners are in the strong position of sending Logan Gilbert and Castillo to the mound for the remainder of the series. Assuming they pitch up to their usual level, it will then be up to the offense to muster enough scoring to give them a chance of at least splitting the final two games in New York.
What’s your prediction for the outcome of the remainder of this series in New York? More importantly, do you expect the Mariners to still be in a wild card spot when they return to Seattle after Wednesday’s finale versus the Yankees? Let us know in the comments section below.