After winning on Tuesday night, thanks to battery-roommates Logan “Walter” Gilbert and Cal “Big Dumper” Raleigh, the Mariners dropped the series finale on Wednesday despite early pitching dominance by Luis Castillo and a two-homerun game by Eugenio Suarez.
After losing two of three to a Chicago White Sox team who is still fighting for a playoff berth (most likely scenario for the Sox is the AL Central, not Wild Card), Seattle’s record now sits at 77-60. Toronto took three of four from Baltimore, and the pool of three teams (Tampa Bay, Seattle, Toronto) atop of the AL Wild Card shifted forwards, and away from non-spot holders, despite Seattle losing the series. All three teams in a current spot have won eight of their last ten, with Tampa Bay holding a game lead over Seattle for the top position, and Toronto only a half game back from the Mariners.
Like stated in previous articles, Seattle’s remaining strength of schedule is the easiest out of all teams, but these next five games will be true test against teams in the National League who are both very much in the NL playoff hunt.
After today’s much-needed off day, the 2021 World Series winning-Atlanta Braves will make the trek north from Oakland for three games at T-Mobile Park this weekend. After another off day on Monday, the San Diego Padres join the homestand party for two games next week.
The Atlanta Braves are the hottest team in baseball right now. They have won seven in a row and are now only a half game back from the New York Mets in the NL East. The Braves have a current 10.5 game lead for the top spot in the NL Wild Card, but their ultimate goal is to secure the East. Safe to say, Mets’ fans are rooting on the Mariners this weekend.
Let’s take a look back at the final two games of the series against the White Sox, before looking ahead to Atlanta’s arrival.
Tuesday’s middle game featured Logan Gilbert against Johnny Cueto. It was scoreless until the home fourth, until Ty France scored after advancing to third on a fly out, and a throwing error where the ball got past Chicago’s Yoan Moncada into the third base camera well.
Both pitchers were dominant, but Logan Gilbert had the upper edge. Gilbert went six strong, and matched a career-tying nine strikeouts, while not allowing a run. For the first time really ever, Gilbert’s normally quiet and humble self, showed serious emotion after striking out the last two batters in his final inning of work. He beat his chest and yelled “let’s go!” multiple times after walking off the field for his best performance of the 2022 season.
Cal Raleigh added on some much-needed insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when he went yard deep into the right field seats for a two-run shot. Los Bomberos did what Los Bomberos typically do and spun three innings of scoreless relief. Seattle won Tuesday’s game, shutting out Chicago 3-0.
Wednesday’s midday matinee was certainly a strange one.
Luis Castillo struck out a record-setting seven straight White Sox to open the ballgame, and the M’s put up four runs in the fourth, thanks in part to Eugenio Suarez’s mammoth home run deep into the bleachers, which was also his 1,000th career hit.
This one looked like it was all Seattle, until it was not.
The Mariners, the best defensive team in baseball, finished the game with three errors. Chicago put up two in the fourth and four in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead. Suarez was not done, where he hit a game-tying opposite-field home run in the seventh.
Chicago pulled away, scoring three over the last two innings, and ultimately took the finale, 9-6.
Here is a look at the pitching matchups ahead of the three-game series against the Atlanta Braves:
- Friday, 9/9 at 6:40 PM (exclusively on Apple TV+): Robbie Ray (12-8, 3.45 ERA) vs Charlie Morton (7-5, 4.01 ERA)
- Saturday, 9/10 at 6:10 PM: George Kirby (6-3, 3.15 ERA) vs Max Fried (13-5, 2.48 ERA)
- Sunday, 9/11 at 1:10 PM: Marco Gonzales (10-13, 3.98 ERA) vs TBD
To finish things off, here are the updated American League Wild Card standings as of Thursday afternoon:
- Tampa Bay Rays (77-58), +1.5 GB
- Seattle Mariners (77-60), +0.5 GB
- Toronto Blue Jays (76-60), -- GB
- Baltimore Orioles (72-65), 4.5 GB