The Mariners lose the rubber match in Texas despite Logan Gilbert’s fine start, due to a combination of Matt Brash and poor play from the offense.
This is not how it was meant to go down in Texas, losing two of three games to the Rangers. Not against a team which the Mariners held a 11-2 record against entering the series and had beaten eight straight times in 2022.
However, after splitting the first two games of the weekend, the Mariners lost the rubber match 5-3 on Sunday. As a result, they dropped just their third series out of the last 15.
Still more pros than cons
Logan Gilbert is the first to admit he wasn’t at his best on Sunday afternoon. To begin with, he equaled his season high of four walks. (Making this more of an anomaly, he only recorded one walk in three previous starts this year versus Texas.)
Gilbert also threw a rare wild pitch, in the bottom of the fifth inning. The off-target slider resulted in a run by Corey Seager and a 3-2 lead for the Rangers.
However despite not being in top form, the reality is the 25-year-old still had a decent outing. On the day he threw six innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs, while striking out five.
The outing was also an efficient one for Gilbert, in respect of needing just 87 pitches to get through his six innings. The start was also significant, with him setting a new career-high of 138.1 innings.
Gilbert sets high standards for himself and didn’t perform at peak level on Sunday, but at least worked hard to battle through. He said:
“You’re not always going to have it and that says a lot (to be able to get through six innings). You just have to find a way to get it done. We needed a win today and I tried my best to keep us in it, but not everything was working the best. We had a shot, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Mariners lacking at the plate
The righty is now winless in his last seven starts (0-2), while the Mariners are just 1-4 in his five appearances since the All-Star break. However, as with his two recent games against the Astros, he was ultimately let down by a lack of offense.
The Mariners managed a measly four hits on the day. They struck out 13 times and left 19 men on base.
Highlighting the offensive struggles, Julio Rodriguez and Ty France combined to go 0-for-9 at bat. Mitch Haniger at least managed a hit, resulting in an RBI single in the top of the fifth to briefly tie the score at 2-2.
(Haniger now has hits in all eight of his games since returning from a high right ankle sprain. In fact, dating back to before his injury, he has a season-high 11-game hitting streak.)
Against the norm
Another element which contributed to the Mariners losing a winnable game, was Matt Brash. Coming in for the bottom of the seventh, he would not make it out of the inning.
Brash seemed to be his usual self to begin with, as he did what was needed to produce two outs. This was no surprise, for a reliever who had given up just nine hits and two earned runs combined in his last 12 appearances.
Then it all started to go wrong, as the 24-year-old first gave up a double to Seager. This was followed by his own wild pitch, which helped advance the Rangers’ shortstop to third base.
Brash then allowed a hit which brought Seager home, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead and chasing him from the game. He was then tagged with another earned run, after his replacement Erik Swanson gave up a double to make it 5-3.
Manager Scott Servais wasn’t critical of Brash afterwards, knowing what he means to the team overall. He said:
“Matt Brash has been throwing the ball so well. I don’t think he threw the ball bad today at all … He made the middle-of-the-plate pitches probably at the wrong time to the wrong hitters. But we need Matt Brash to keep staying aggressive, stay in the strike zone. He’s going to play a big part in our bullpen here as we finish up the season.”
As for the game in general, Servais acknowledged the hitting — or lack thereof — was the main issue. He said:
“Offensively today was obviously a struggle. We got the pitch count up on Martin Perez, but between (him) and (Josh) Sborz we struck out too much. We struck out 13 times today and it really stalls rallies. You can’t get much going and that was kind of the story of today’s game, so it’s disappointing. It’s not the end of the world, but we’ve got to get back offensively. You’ve got to hit on the road to win, I’ve always said that. We’ve got to get back to doing those things.”
The Mariners will now renew hostilities with the Angels for three-games in Anaheim, starting on Monday night. The first matchup promises to be special, with Luis Castillo facing off against Shohei Ohtani.
What is your main takeaway from the series in Texas? Do you expect the Mariners to get back on track against the Angels? Let us know in the comments section below.