The glamorous storyline for tonight’s 6-1 victory is the Mariners’ bats powered them to a four game winning streak. This is true, and we’ll address that later; however, what stuck out most to me was how well Seattle C’ed the Z.
Ariel Miranda toed the rubber tonight for the Mariners and made efficient work of the Marlins’ lineup, throwing just 97 pitches in seven innings of scoreless baseball. He didn’t walk a batter and only allowed four hits, all of which were singles. Miranda was in control from the outset, and his confidence never wavered.
The 28-year-old lefty did a phenomenal job getting ahead in the count, throwing 18 first pitch strikes to 25 hitters. He often attacked the top of the zone early in the at bat, changing the eye level of Marlin batters and setting up for array of pitches later in the count. Take this battle with J.T. Realmuto for example:
A first pitch fastball in the upper-inside corner was called for strike one. He followed with a splitter low and away, which Realmuto watch for a second strike. Over the next handful of pitches, Miranda would elevate a few fastballs, throw a couple of low sliders, and bury a splitter before finally getting a third strike on a foul-tipped fastball on the top of the zone. He was mixing pitches, changing locations, and consequently got favorable results.
On the offensive side, the Mariners took advantage early when Tom Koehler struggled with location. In fact, the first Seattle plate appearance of the night was a Jarrod Dyson four-pitch walk. Five pitches later, Koehler left a changeup here:
Then Robinson Cano did this:
In the very next at bat, Nelson Cruz golfed a fastball in the lower-middle of the zone over the centerfield fence to extend the lead to 3-0.
The scoring resumed in the fourth inning, when Jarrod Dyson gently placed a double into shallow leftfield, bringing Leonys Martin around to score. Later in the inning, Koehler made another mistake against Cano, this time hanging a curveball in the middle of the zone:
The seven-time all-star was inches away from his second home run of the game, but instead ended up on second with a RBI double.
Nothing beats dinner with a show, so Taylor Motter provided us with his third #MotterPop of the year, extending the Mariners’ lead to 6-0 (Note: I realize that otter pops are not a sufficient dinner, I was just trying to be creative with my word play).
Bat flips: Out.— Mariners (@Mariners) April 18, 2017
Hair flips: Very much in. pic.twitter.com/1G6kC7lnbz
A harmless solo-shot from Christian Yelich was the only blemish in a decisive win for the Mariners. Tonight extended their winning streak to four. Obviously, every win streak is encouraging; however, after the painfully slow start to the season, this extended weekend has been a breath of fresh air. Two wins were the result of excellent starting pitching. Sunday showcased offensive output. Tonight, both were on display.
It’s nice to see production from the middle of the zone. Although Kyle Seager was hitless tonight, he entered the game on a five-game hitting streak. Cruz extended his hit streak to seven, and has three extra-base hits in the last four games. A three RBI outing from Cano will hopefully catalyze a hot streak, putting to rest a difficult first couple weeks.
Tomorrow, the Mariners look to build off the momentum they’ve accumulated since Friday. Yovani Gallardo and Wei-Yin Chen square off at 7:10 PM.
Until then.. Go M’s