Defense never slumps, they say.
Maybe it doesn’t slump, but sometimes it looks like it could use a few days off to mentally recharge.
The gloves have been the story during these first two games in Atlanta. The Mariners made two errors tonight following a four error performance last night. Fangraphs ranks the Mariners defense 8th in MLB, so it has certainly been an uncharacteristic couple of games.
The major defensive breakdown came on a strange play in the bottom of the 6th inning. With Ozzie Albies on second and Lane Adams on first, Ender Inciarte hits a ground ball to Jean Segura. Segura holds onto it a bit before throwing to third baseman Kyle Seager. Albies had advanced to third and broke for home, prompting Seager to throw to catcher Mike Zunino. After the throw, Albies turned around and headed back toward third. Zunino threw back to Seager, who seemed surprised the ball was coming back to him. Albies scored on the error. Lane Adams tried to advance to third on the play, but was out on Yonder Alonso’s throw to Zunino at third.
Confused? Here’s the video tape:
On the plus side, look at Alonso covering the entire infield. His defense didn’t take the day off.
Another error was added to the scoreboard in the seventh inning when Mitch Haniger came in for a pop up and just flat out dropped it.
The offense wasn’t able to rally tonight like it had last night to overcome the errors. The Mariners managed to reach base 9 times on 5 hits, 3 walks, and a Robinson Cano hit by pitch, but none of those runners scored.
Nelson Cruz made his way into the lineup in right field, but his hitting streak ended at 12 games. However, right field went easy on him, so we’ll breathe a sigh of relief that he reached the end of the game in one piece.
The Mariners pitching wasn’t horrible. Starter Marco Gonzales allowed the only 2 earned runs of the game in his 4.2 innings pitched, both courtesy of Nick Markakis. Gonzales still doesn’t look major league rotation-ready, but this is the Mariner’s starting rotation and getting through the lineup twice without any major disasters is about all we should realistically expect at this point.
James Pazos and Dan Altavilla each allowed an unearned run in relief. These weren’t great performances from any of the three pitchers; Atlanta had at least one runner on each inning except the 9th, but only because 8 innings were enough to win.
The Mariners take on the Braves against tomorrow at 4:35 PM PDT. It’s the rubber game of the series, so they have a chance to come away with the series win. Then, the defense can take a mental health day and rest up before heading into New York for the final week of this crazy road game laden month.