Mariners fall apart during seventh inning in 5-3 loss to Brewers

The Seattle Mariners waste a strong outing from Marco Gonzales as the Milwaukee Brewers win finale to complete series sweep.

Baseball is the sport where you most have to be even-keeled, given how many games are played in a season. And yet, it’s tough not to be somewhat concerned by the Mariners, even this early into the 2023 campaign.

The M’s have lacked any type of consistency up to this point. This has not been helped by uncharacteristic mistakes that have been too frequent for anyone’s liking.

In addition, there have been too many occasions when Seattle has looked strong in certain areas during games, while simultaneously being let down by other parts of their team. Wednesday afternoon provided yet another example of this, as Milwaukee won 5-3.

In theory, there is no shame in being swept by a team as talented as the Brewers. However, the Mariners were playing at home and in reality should have taken at least one game in the series.

The best chance was undoubtedly Tuesday night’s 6-5 loss in extra innings. Although there is a case to be made, that Wednesday’s finale was also there for the taking.

Gonzales settles right back in

Back from paternity leave after the birth of his second child, Marco Gonzales took the mound on Wednesday afternoon. And despite not pitching for 11 days, he proved to be lights out for the majority of his start.

Through six innings, Gonzales allowed just two hits, one walk and no runs. He also matched his career-high of nine strikeouts.

The 31-year-old admitted he was energized by the birth of his second daughter. Speaking to the media after the game, he said:

“I felt really good – it was like riding a bike. I was fortunate enough to just continue to get my work in as best I could. When it was all said and done, I think I took only two days off from throwing, so I was able to keep myself going and be ready for today.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais was impressed with how good Gonzales looked after his extended period without a game. He said:

“I thought Marco was excellent today. He was right on top of his game. A good mix of all his pitches. I thought that was his best breaking ball, a number of outstanding curveballs. The shape of his pitch was sharp. He had them going back and forth.”

It was only in the top of the seventh, that Gonzales finally began to tire. After starting off the inning allowing two singles, the Mariners replaced him with Matt Brash.

Brash struggles again

Unfortunately for the M’s, Brash continued his rough start to the season. The Brewers got another hit to load the bases and then never looked back.

Milwaukee scored five runs in total during the seventh inning, to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Two of the earned runs were added to Gonzales’ stat line, which was the only thing that saved Brash’s from looking even worse.

As such, officially speaking the 24-year-old allowed four hits and three earned runs during his one inning of action. This resulted in ballooning his ERA to 6.23 and his WHIP to 1.846 on the season.

Considered one of the better arms in the M’s bullpen, Brash just doesn’t have it at the moment. Explaining why he was put in for Gonzales in that particular situation, Servais said:

“(Matt) does not back off. He’s going to give you his best effort. He’s going to throw his best stuff. It’s not always located exactly. He’s a stuff guy. He’s not a pitch maker. He’s not going to trick you out there.”

It would be easy to twist the quote into an argument against putting Brash out there when they did. In terms of his play on the day, Servais said:

“They put the bat on the ball today. He wasn’t able to miss the bat. It hurt him.”

Mariners bats go AWOL once more

In fairness to Brash, he wasn’t the only reason the Mariners lost. Once again, the bats just weren’t there on the day.

Things had started off well enough for the offense, as Julio Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third. It was his fourth home run of the year and it gave the M’s a 2-0 advantage.

However, as per the inconsistent nature of Seattle’s offense, they then went 14 consecutive plate appearances without a single hit. The drought did not end until the bottom of the eighth, by which point they were trailing 5-2.

The Mariners did make it interesting in the ninth inning, as they loaded the bases. With one out, Jarred Kelenic came up to bat.

As has been the case so much of late, Keneic got the hit for an RBI single, to bring Seattle to within 5-3. That was as close as they would get however, as Tommy La Stella and Jose Caballero both popped out to end the game.

Servais was under no illusion that the Brewers were the better team throughout the series. He said:

“Not a good series. Obviously we weren’t clicking on all cylinders at different points of the games throughout the series. We’ve got to give Milwaukee credit. They’re playing well. They’re getting the big outs when they need them and the timely hitting.”

Positive mindset

In terms of the erratic play in general and moving forward, Servais approached matters with a positive outlook. He said:

“We have a lot of baseball to play. And we’re not even close to playing how we can play when we’re at our best, so we’ve got that to look forward to.”

Gonzales had a similar mindset, when discussing the inconsistency of the Mariners to date. He said:

“It’s not too surprising to begin the season. We’re finding our footing, our identity. We have a dangerous lineup, guys who can really chuck the rock, so I’m not really worried in any sense. We just need to put it together and click the right way.”

Seattle need to find a way to click sooner than later. They have the likes of Toronto, Houston and a rejuvenated Texas coming up in the next few weeks.

First up though, the Mariners face a three-game series versus St. Louis at home, beginning on Friday. George Kirby will take the mound first, as they attempt to end their losing streak and edge back towards .500.

How concerned are you about the Mariners, given the strength of their schedule over the next three weeks? How crucial will this period be in their pursuit of a playoff spot? Let us know in the comments section below.

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