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Mariners Bullpen Holds Lead to Secure Gaviglio’s First Career Win

The M’s have combined for 11 runs in the last two days.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

As one of the newer contributors here on the site, this is my first recap of the season (also was foolishly given the reigns to the Lookout Landing Twitter account last night, so thanks to all of you who interacted with me throughout the game). I cannot express enough how grateful I am that the first game I get to recap was not only an interesting game, but also Mariner victory.

Yesterday, the starved Mariners offense broke out for five runs on sixteen hits against the Red Sox. Today, the M’s bats followed that performance up with six runs on ten hits. If you missed the game on television and are reading this to catch up, this is probably the most important thing for you to take away: Sam Gaviglio actually pitched a much better game than his line in the box score would indicate.

He had surrendered just four hits and two walks through his first five innings of work before being questionably sent back out for a third go-round with the Rockies lineup to start the sixth inning. He was lifted without recording an out giving up back to back singles to the Rockies two and three hitters and James Pazos was brought in in his stead. Two ground outs and a double later, and Gaviglio’s line shifted from 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 R to 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 R. Pazos was able to wiggle off the hook with the lead in tact, which allowed Gaviglio to stay in line for his first career big league win. He was by no means dominant, but he managed to limit the runs scored by a very potent offense in a very difficult environment, which is about all you can ask for from this patchwork starting pitching rotation.

On the offensive side, Ben Gamel and Mike Zunino each recorded two hits and a walk, and Danny Valencia checked in with three hits of his own. The multi-hit game marked the first of the year for Mike Zunino, who saw his wRC+ raise from 31 to 43. Valencia bumped his back up to a mark of 99. Perhaps the biggest offensive performer of the day however was Kyle Seager, who delivered a base loaded double that scored two runners before turning things over the the less reliable half of the Mariners lineup.

There were several big moments on the mound in this one, but perhaps none bigger than Trevor Story, who’d hit a home run one inning earlier, watching a middle middle pitch (Pitch 5 below) for a called third strike with the tying run on second base.

Mark Rzepczynski putting away his lone batter he faced, Carlos Gonzalez, with Nolan Arenado representing the tying run on first base followed by a recently-struggling Dan Altavilla setting Mark Reynolds now on strikes to end the threat was a huge series in the 8th, as it set the stage for Edwin Diaz to close out the game facing the 6-7-8 hitters in the Rockies lineup.

It was nice to see the bats show up again today, but the bullpen really came to the rescue this afternoon, combining for a line of 4.0 IP, H, BB, 5 K to close out the game. Zych, Vincent, Rzepcynski, and Altavilla threw just 8, 9, 2, and 5 pitches respectively, and should theoretically be available tomorrow if needed, however they may not be with Ariel Miranda, who has been the team’s most consistent starter as of late, slated to start. He’ll square off against University of Oregon product, left-hander Tyler Anderson. The M’s, who are 29th in the league in OPS and 27th in wRC+ against LHP’s, will attempt to show some competency against left-handed pitching.