The Mariners scored a run today.
It was a pleasant moment, coming at the tail end of a string of three consecutive two-out singles that saw the Mariners cut the Angels’ lead in half. Nelson Cruz provided the RBI single, scooting the ball past Andrelton Simmons and into center field to score Mitch Haniger. Nelson Cruz has been perhaps the most difficult to watch hitter thus far for the Mariners and, because the human heart loves to search for some sort of narrative or purpose, it all seemed to add up to the idea that things were going to turn. The Mariners would keep the rally going. Nelson Cruz would be fine. The Mariners would win this game convincingly.
The Angels brought in a reliever. Kyle Seager struck out on three pitches. The Angels hit two more home runs. The Mariners never truly threatened again. Outside of that one pleasant moment, the Mariners’ 5-1 loss to the Angels on Friday night was nothing more than a combination of unfortunate events and woefully boring baseball, with a little bit of Dillon Overton sprinkled in.
Starter Yovani Gallardo was about all you realistically want to expect out of your fifth starter, turning in an outing that could’ve been a lot better and could’ve been a lot worse, but ultimately left you in a position where the contest was winnable. His official line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, HR. The velocity looked good; his four-seam was up near 94 mph at times and he even managed to get his two-seamer to a max of 93.7. A lot of his night was damage control, a result of both poor luck and a poor job of working behind in the count, but Gallardo persevered through all of it.
After Kole Calhoun blooped the bloopiest of ground rule doubles in the first, Gallardo was faced with a 3rd and 2nd, no out situation with Mike Trout at the plate. When the inning was over, only one run had scored. Two innings later, he found himself in a bases loaded, one out jam. He did exactly what he needed to do, inducing a weak grounder off the bat of Albert Pujols, who runs exactly as well as you’d expect Albert Pujols to run in the year 2017. The inning seemed over, but then, I don’t know, upside-down tridents and what not:
Seager wouldn’t record an out on the play after the ball slipped out of his glove and the Angels would score their second run of the night. Gallardo, thankfully, would work his way out of the jam without further damage.
His final and most avoidable surrendered run of the night came on a Cameron Maybin solo shot in the sixth inning.
Casey Fien took over for Gallardo in the sixth and was honestly in cruise control until Kole Calhoun tagged him for a two-run homer that seemed to give the Angels all the breathing room they’d need. Dillon Overton worked the bottom of the eighth for the Mariners, striking out two and surrendering just one hit.
As previously mentioned, the bats were silent once again. The Mariners were helpless against Angels starter Jesse Chavez, who excelled at painting corners and mixing eye levels all night long. Seattle hitters finished with just one walk and ten strikeouts, their third double-digit strikeout game of the season. Cruz, Seager, and Zunino all turned in multi-strikeout performances and Guillermo Heredia surprisingly didn’t look too sharp hitting for the first time in nearly a week. Still, Heredia was one of two Mariners (Danny Valencia) who didn’t strike out on the day.
- After pushing it over 90 mph all spring, Overton failed to get over the hump in his Mariners debut, topping out at 89.3 with his four-seam. I suppose we can chalk this one up to “preoccupied with the birth of his child” fatigue.
- Mike Zunino continued his odd trend of putting up tough at-bats, working himself into a good count, and then wildly swinging through a meatball. I don’t love this trend, to be honest with you.
- At one point Jarrod Dyson made a sliding catch and then succeeded in doubling up Mike Trout at first. It’s pretty wild that the Mariners can sit Leonys Martin on the bench and be just as good or close to as good defensively as they were before.
- Valencia had a much better day today, finishing with a single and two line drive outs. He also broke another bat. I’m not sure Danny Valencia has many more bats left. At some point he’s going to have to start breaking other people’s bats. He also had another nice double play turn in the field, which I’m sure caused the batter to break his bat in frustration.
- Continuing the trend of throwing his slider harder and harder over the years, Gallardo had his today up at 89.3 mph with a max of 91.9, per BrooksBaseball.net. As rough as the start was, he gave you reason to believe he could be a perfectly fine pitcher for the Mariners this season.
The Mariners (1-4) return to action tomorrow, facing off against the Angels (3-2) at 7:10 PT in Anaheim.