Yesterday was a day recognized as a party that features barbecues and explosive pageantry, and yesterday the Mariners did not disappoint in matching that theme. This season, it hasn’t been uncommon for the Mariners to light up like this every once in a while. What is at least moderately rare this year is to repeat these performances two days in a row. Fear not, because they’ve done it again, with a resounding 6-2 victory today to sweep the two-game series. It was San Diego’s first series sweep since 2015, and with them beating the Padres 14-4, it was done well. (Ignore the barbecue metaphors for that last bit, because according to an impromptu poll of LL’s readership, and myself, the clearly superior cook is moderately rare).
Logan Gilbert had a perfectly acceptable night, allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits, three walks and one strikeout in 5.1 innings of performance. In a way, it didn’t bring its usual warmth. The speed was definitely there, averaging 96.3 mph on his fastball and reaching as high as 99.3. What wasn’t there were his usual strikeouts, and on his 101 pitches, he only generated eight puffs over forty-eight swings. To give some credit where it’s due though, its location was far from terrible, and it got absolutely no calls it probably should have had at the edge of the zone. Take that Jake Cronenworth at bat late in the third inning, for example.
Without much generosity, it should have been a strikeout. It happened with two outs and had undeniable consequences as it eventually led to Cronenworth scoring later in the set to tie the game at 1-1, after a fielding error by Frazier allowed Hosmer to reach base. No, Gilbert didn’t have his best thing today. But what’s absolutely refreshing about having LoGi on the mound is that he’s a fighter, and even when he’s down, he hasn’t come out. In the second inning, he got into a base-loaded jam with no outs, but he kept his lead in play and induced playable contact to get all three outs. The main props also go to defense in these games, which played a major role in today’s overall win.
Now, to the Sam Haggerty of all of this. The reaction I saw to Haggerty and Dylan Moore both from the outfield was a collective sigh of apprehension, but at the end of the day Haggerty and Moore were the WPA team leaders with .204 and .203 respectively. Sam Haggerty specifically had a career game, going 3-on-4 with a stolen base, and two RBIs, including a solo shot in the third inning that put the Mariners on the board first.
Here’s his other RBI, when he brought Dylan Moore home from second on a single in the fourth inning.
He brought the Ham and he brought the Swagger. He also had strong defensive plays in left field, flexing his speed and chasing balls, and showing some arm strength to get balls in quickly and keep runners from advancing. He had a defensive misstep on a play in the bottom of the sixth inning, and was TOOTBLAN victim in the top of the seventh when what should have been an easy early out on a bunt instead generated a pitching error, which then turned into an easy out at third when he ran past second base.
All in all though, a solid day starting from number zero, and all is forgiven for the mistakes made. Small sample of course, but he now averages .303 and .828 OPS on the season, with a .3 bWAR in thirty-one plate appearances.
What made today’s win so comfortable was that the offense really heats up up and down the lineup. Throwing of course has been close to elite lately, and the bullpen has recovered nicely after some early misfortunes, but none of that matters if they just can’t not score points. All eyes have, of course, been on Julio Rodríguez lately as he continues to make the case for Rookie of the Year, and dare I say he even pushes his way into the MVP conversation. Tonight he went 2 for 5 with three strikeouts, scoring once and leading to zero RBIs. Even when he is “bad”, he is still good.
But tonight everyone got on base except Abraham Toro and Eugenio Suárez, it wasn’t just the J-Rod Show. JP Crawford, Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty each had two RBIs. Dylan Moore in particular had a 2-on-3 night with a walk and just one strikeout. JP Crawford’s two RBIs topped the ninth on his second hat-trick of the season.
It was JP’s second straight good game after his suspension ended, which he said he used as time to mentally reset. What initially seemed like a curse turned into a blessing, especially if he continues to turn up the heat in the next series against Toronto. Thank you, angels!
Speaking of heating things up, what about Andrés Muñoz? He hasn’t given up an earned run in nine appearances since allowing two from Boston on June 10. Today he went 1.2 innings, giving up no hits and one walk, while striking out three, including a 102 mph beauty at the edge of the zone to swing Machado and complete the sixth inning. with two runners.
With tonight’s win, it looks like the Seattle Mariners could finally do what they’ve failed to do all season, consistently warming up in all of its games to decisively win games. They are only one game under .500. Tomorrow they have the day off, and after that a four-game game against Toronto at home. Four games against a team that, at the time of this writing, is three games ahead in the wild card standings. They’ve been carefully seasoned with injury issues, roster shake-ups and other pesky inconsistencies. Now that we’re approaching All Star Break, they’re perfectly ready to bring the sizzle and finally cook this season.