Mariners lose 9-4 to Angels as Logan Gilbert struggles

The Mariners lose the rubber match in Los Angeles, with their inconsistency mirrored in Logan Gilbert’s own recent up-and-down form.

Every time you think the Mariners are falling out of contention, they put a run together. Similarly though, each time you think they are back on track, they find a way to undo their good work.

There are two possibilities with this Seattle team – they are either underachieving, or they are not as good as we believe them to be. Either way, they are just 31-33 as of Monday morning and fortunate to be only 5.0 games back of a wild card spot.

By rights, the Mariners should not be under .500 at this stage of the season. However, that’s exactly where they are after losing 9-4 in Sunday’s rubber match with the Angels.

The bad version of Gilbert

In many ways, Logan Gilbert has recently epitomized the inconsistency of Seattle, trading tremendous starts with poor ones. On Sunday it was the turn of the latter, as he suffered his poorest outing of the year.

Gilbert lasted just 3.0 innings in his shortest start of the 2023 campaign. He also had season-worsts of eight hits, seven runs, six earned and two strikeouts.

The 26-year-old had actually returned for the fourth inning, despite Seattle being down 6-2 at the time. However, after a fielding error, he allowed a second man on base by hitting Taylor Ward with a pitch and that was the end of his afternoon.

In his previous start versus the Padres, Gilbert had a dominant performance. He couldn’t follow this up though, even despite being moved up in the rotation to keep him on his regular five days’ rest.

It has been an almost bizarre year to date for the righty, with a middling 4.38 ERA and 4-4 record through 13 outings. In contrast, he is on course for single-season bests in FIP and WHIP, as well as strikeouts and walks per nine innings.

Regardless, little went right for Gilbert in Los Angeles. He gave up two crucial home runs and manufactured just four swings and misses in his 58 pitches.

No excuses made

The 2018 first round draft pick was understandably crestfallen, when discussing his outing after the game. He said:

“It was tough. You want to do everything you can to help the team, especially in a game like this, trying to win the series. And yeah, it was terrible. A lot of people (were) counting on me (and) I just let them down.”

Gilbert also struggled to explain why he pitched so poorly on the day. He said:

“Yeah, it’s weird. That’s how baseball goes. But it’s my job — especially after they score in the first inning — to make an adjustment and shut them down and try to keep them there.”

Even Mariners manager Scott Servais, who always tries to be positive, admitted his young pitcher just didn’t have it on the day. He said:

“Obviously Logan did not have his A game today and they were on it early. The fastball command wasn’t great. He tried to use his slider and off-speed pitches to work his way through it, but it was just a struggle for him.”

Mariners bats performs well, except when it matters most

Despite Gilbert’s poor day and a 7-2 deficit after four innings, the Mariners kept battling. Following a season-best 16 hits on Saturday, the offense managed another nine in the rubber match.

Despite this theoretical positive however, the bats still went cold when Seattle most needed them to heat up. This was particularly the case in the top of the sixth, after loading the bases with no outs.

However, the Mariners could only manage one run to get to within 7-4, in an inning when they even managed to reload the bases. It was a similar story in the seventh, when they got the tying run to the plate but failed to capitalize.

Any hope of a comeback all but disappeared, after the Angels scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 9-4 lead. The two runs in question were against Chris Flexen, who saw his ERA increase to 7.38 in a year he must increasingly want to forget.

A road trip with more questions than answers

In fairness, the team as a whole likely wants to erase the memories of a 2-6 road trip. That it included a collective 1-5 record versus divisional rivals only makes matters worse.

Servais talked about the road trip and alluded to the inconsistency of the team. He said:

“A rough road trip. Obviously (we) didn’t play good, clean baseball. Right when I think we’re starting to turn the corner a little bit, you take a step backwards. So frustrating in that regard.”

Servais knows things need to improve, including minimizing the sloppy play and mental errors. He said:

“Yeah I’m frustrated by it. I think we all are. I think at times it’s (a) lack of focus. These are things that we’ve talked about and it’s really important not to give up outs on the bases. We’ve addressed it multiple times. We make mistakes at critical times and you’re not going to win in this league doing that.”

It doesn’t help that the previously reliable rotation has now become as up-and-down as the offense. As a result of the recent struggles, the starters have dropped to tied-12th in batting average and tied-15th in team ERA.

There will be little time for the Mariners to reflect, as they begin a three-game home series on Monday night against the Marlins. Bryce Miller will take the mound, in the hopes of pitching considerably better than his two previous outings.

What is your main takeaway from the series in Los Angeles versus the Angels? Where is you confidence/concern level currently at with the Mariners? Let us know in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply