Out of every wild, unbelievable thing that’s happened in the first month of the season so far, the 2019 Mariners losing two 1-0 games in one week might be the wildest. Granted, they came at the hands of Carlos Carrasco and Chris Paddack, but this offense not scratching across even one? Twice? Just inconceivable. Thankfully, any worries about the bats continuing their anemia were put to bed within the first fifteen minutes tonight.
Catch up on the game thread here:
Taylor Hearn, who the Rangers acquired in last summer’s Keone Kela trade, made his big league debut tonight, and unfortunately for him, it spiraled into a nightmare right out of the gate. After he allowed three straight walks to load the bases, Tim Beckham grabbed the first run of the game on a hard grounder down the line that Asdrúbal Cabrera snared, though everyone remained safe. Adrián Beltré, he is not. Hearn notched his first - and so far only - big league out on a Daniel Vogelbach can of corn, but quickly fell behind 3-1 to Ryon Healy, and Ryon made him pay:
Omar Narváez worked a fourth walk, Dylan Moore poked a single into left just a couple pitches after Logan Forsythe straight dropped an easy pop up in foul ground, and Taylor Hearn’s debut was over almost as soon as it began. As a final twist of the knife, Brett Martin allowed a fifth run to score on a Dee Gordon sac fly, which was also charged to him. Frankly, as thrilled I was about the runs, I couldn’t help but feel for the guy. After all, everyone only gets one debut, and it’s hard to imagine his having gone any worse. He’s still got some prospect sheen, though, and odds are pretty good that he’ll get some more cracks in the bigs in his future.
After two whole innings of not scoring, the Mariners went right back to it, bringing at least two runs home in each of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh and draining a Texas bullpen that came into today dead last in fWAR. /extremely Stefon voice This game had it all... a two-run oppo double from Domingo...
...a Beckham baby bat flip...
...and even a Vogeldouble!
Things turned sideways to the point where the Rangers had veteran catcher Jeff Mathis pitch the eighth inning, and he put up the best line of the night, allowing just one hit and striking out Dylan Moore, who capped off by far the best game of his young Major League career (four times on base! Four!) by swinging through a 74 mile-per-hour lob ball. Beautiful.
The bats had so much good content that we haven’t even begun to touch on Marco! Simply put, he was electric tonight. After some concern about his lack of strikeouts - and more worryingly, swinging strikes period - he gave easily his best performance of the season, racking up nine strikeouts over seven shutout frames without walking a soul. His thirteen swinging strikes were his highest mark of the year by five, and he had complete command of all four of his pitches. Tripp Gibson was generous with high strike calls tonight, and Marco feasted on them, dotting several two-seamers and cutters on the upper inside corner to the righty-heavy Rangers. His final inning was arguably his most impressive, working around a two-out single by Patrick Wisdom to get Joey Gallo...
...and Isiah Kiner-Falefa all on called third strikes. Simply dominant.
Roenis Elías sadly could not preserve the shutout, as the lefty labored through poor command and a blown strike call to let two runs on the board, although both were unearned due to his own error. At least it literally did not affect the Mariners’ win probability.
There was also one more treat left for us in the ninth, and it came in the form of this beautiful double play from Beckham and Dee:
After the 3-9 slog (and honestly, it hasn’t felt that bad, funny enough) Seattle’s been mired in, this game was a breath of fresh air. Oodles of runs, a legitimate ace performance from Marco, no errors or TOOTBLANs, and some fun defense? Sign me up any day. The future will continue to be now tomorrow, with Justus Sheffield scheduled to make his Mariner debut in relief of Yusei Kikuchi’s opener start against Shelby Miller, who remains utterly broken. Should be a pretty fun time.