The Mariners stop their four-game losing streak in style, thanks to Luis Castillo’s pitching and Teoscar Hernandez and AJ Pollock’s bats.
The Mariners will be the first to admit offense was the least consistent aspect of their game last year. Through the first five games of the 2023 season this had again been the case, somewhat fulfilling the concern of fans.
Outside of Julio Rodriguez, Ty France and Eugenio Suarez, Seattle need more production from the rest of the lineup. For one game at least, they received the additional help which is so desperately needed.
Dealing with an early-season four-game losing streak, the Mariners saw two of their offseason acquisitions finally step up. More specifically, Teoscar Hernandez and AJ Pollock.
For Hernandez in particular, his breakout game was a welcome sight. The Mariners’ prized offseason addition entered Tuesday night with just one hit in five games to begin the year.
Hernandez and Pollock lead the way
The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner rectified this in fine fashion versus the Angels at T-Mobile Park. On the night, he had a couple of hits, two homers, four RBI and two runs.
It represented the 15th two-home run game of Hernandez’s career. More importantly, it helped propel the Mariners to a much-needed 11-2 victory.
Teammate Pollock also had two hits, two homers and a couple of runs on the night. He bested Hernandez however with five RBI of his own, to equal his own career-best set back in 2015.
The Mariners totaled 13 hits in all, with their other RBI coming courtesy of Cal Raleigh. Rodriguez, France and Suarez all had two hits, but there is no denying who deserved the headlines on Tuesday night.
There had been some understandable concern about the slow start by Hernandez in particular. Speaking about him and Pollock, M’s manager Scott Servais said:
“Both of those guys come to a new ball club. You want (them) to get off to a good start or a quick start and then it doesn’t happen.”
As such, the play of Hernandez and Pollock on Tuesday night was a huge relief. Servais continued:
“We’re going to need those guys to continue to dominate. It was fun tonight, it really was. You kind of see the whole thing come together. It’s not going to be that easy every night, but we needed a night like tonight.”
Hernandez discussed the sense of urgency to help his new team. Speaking to the media after the game, he said:
“I wanted to get hits. I wanted to get on base, I wanted to do things to help the team. I wasn’t doing that. Things weren’t going the way I wanted it to go. I finally made some adjustments. My timing, it’s a little better. It’s getting better.”
The 2021 All-Star also gave some insight into his mindset in the face of adversity. He said:
“I don’t feel pressure, but I know it’s in there. I was trying to do my best to impress everybody. I don’t want to put that pressure on me, but I know it’s in there. I don’t think about it.”
Staff ace does his thing
The other player who deserves the lions-share of the credit for the win, is Luis Castillo. On Tuesday night he once more showed why he is the staff ace.
Castillo allowed just two hits and a couple of walks in 5.2 innings, while also striking out six. Two of those strikes notably came against Mike Trout, who had reached base in all five of his at-bats the previous night.
In the process, the two-time All-Star picked up his first win of 2023. There is no doubt the Mariners will benefit from a full season of him on the mound.
Along these lines Castillo is yet to give up a run in 11.2 innings this year, allowing just three hits along the way. Speaking about his dominance, Servais said:
“He’s a special pitcher. It’s the demeanor, the mound presence that he brings out there. He’s a fun guy to watch pitch, and our guys like playing behind him for sure.”
As for Castillo himself, he was a little bit more low key and humble when discussing his outing. Speaking through an interpreter, he said:
“I just came in with the same mentality of just going out there and giving everything that my body and arm can give, for us to try to break this negative streak that we’ve had. Luckily today, I was able to perform well and give this team a victory.”
While there is nothing lucky about how Castillo pitches, the Mariners are certainly fortunate to have him. As Servais said:
“Luis was right on top of his game against a team that’s been swinging the bat very well. He was in total control.”
Mariners face the rubber match
Now, the Mariners will attempt to take the series with a win on Wednesday afternoon. This won’t be easy however, with a certain Shohei Ohtani starting for the Angels.
If nothing else, fans will be hoping the Mariners can be galvanized by Tuesday’s win and use it as a starting point for a turnaround. They will counter with Chris Flexen on the mound, starting in place of the injured Robbie Ray.
With Ohtani on the mound for the Angels on Wednesday, how confident are you the Mariners can actually take the series? Let us know in the comments section below.