Logan Gilbert has a solid start, but the Mariners offense is blanked and they have now crucially lost the season series to the Rangers.
Just given the history of the Mariners, it must be tough for fans to not have a sinking feeling. With the season at such a critical point, the team has lost the first two games of their series in Texas.
The 2-0 defeat on Saturday night is crucial, as it now means the Mariners have officially lost their season series to the Rangers. They trail 7-1 with five games remaining, meaning they will lose out head-to-head in the tie-breaker if the two sides finish the 2023 regular season with the same record.
The 2-0 loss also represents the eighth time this season the Mariners have been blanked by an opponent. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Mariners offense can’t get going
The Mariners just had no answer for the Rangers’ pitching, particular Jordan Montgomery. The trade deadline acquisition allowed only five hits and two walks in 7.0 innings of tremendous pitching.
The offensive highlights were few and far between for the Mariners, as they managed just six total hits. This shines a bigger spotlight on manager Scott Servais’ decision to sit Jarred Kelenic, despite him producing a hit and four walks a night earlier.
The Mariners did manufacture three walks, but ultimately they couldn’t get a runner past second base. One of the few highlights was two hits from Ty France, who has been struggling.
Servais alluded to the Mariners not having any luck on the night. Speaking postgame, he said:
“You need a few breaks. Everybody says, ‘Nah, it’s not luck-driven.’ Anybody who watches this game for 162 games understands that you need a few, and we didn’t get any tonight.”
However, even allowing for the absence of any luck, you shouldn’t be getting shut out at this stage of the season. Not when you have a playoff spot on the line.
Gilbert shows up
The lack of offense also wasted a solid outing from Logan Gilbert. Following a disappointing effort versus the Dodgers, he allowed just five hits and two earned runs in 5.2 innings against the Rangers.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, as Gilbert struck out just two batters and gave up a season-high four walks. The two runs he allowed came via RBI singles in the second and fourth innings, and he was ultimately tagged with his seventh loss of the year.
The 26-year-old spoke to the media about the two scores and the lack of good fortune for the offense. He said:
“You’d love swing-and-miss at a time like that, but soft contact sometimes is just as good or all you can ask for. But I felt like tonight, just a few things like that, a few things offensively, it’s one of those games that didn’t go our way even though any other day it could have.”
Servais was pleased with Gilbert’s outing overall. He said:
“I thought Logan threw outstanding, really. He was on top of his game tonight. They hit one ball hard off him, gave up the five hits, but they didn’t strike out. They put the ball in play with two strikes, and they found a few holes. That was kind of the story of the game.”
In some respects, you can make an argument Gilbert has seen a slight regression in his play from last season. At the same time, he’s on course for new career-lows in walk-rate and WHIP.
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A tiring team
Overall though, the righty’s recent inconsistency is symptomatic of the rotation’s overall struggles of late. While they are still among the very best in the Majors, their youth and lack of quality depth is coming to the forefront at the wrong time.
This is a team which worked so hard to get back into the playoff race, but is now tiring. The question is, do the Mariners have enough left in the tank for one last push over the finishing line?
The Mariners were fortunate that both the Astros and Blue Jays also lost on Saturday night. Regardless, as of Sunday morning they sit outside of a playoff spot, with just eight games remaining.
As much as the Mariners bemoaned their lack of luck on Saturday night, they are being helped by the teams around them also struggling for consistency. Fate remains in their hands, but time is running out.
The Mariners’ chances at the AL West are fading, but what about the playoffs altogether? Do you have faith in them qualifying, or a worrying sense they will miss out on the postseason? Let us know in the comments section below.