For the second time in a row, I’ve had the privilege of summarizing a Logan Gilbert performance where he struck out a total of nine batters and overall was quite impressive. For the second time in a row, I’ve had the excruciating discomfort of having to convey a poor hitting performance from your one and only Seattle Mariners. The score states it rather plainly though, the Seattle Mariners lost to the Blue Jays by a score of 0-3, unable to score even a single run. That means a series loss, and they drop to 2-3 on the current road trip, their ineffectiveness in Toronto quickly erasing any good will they may have earned with a series win over the weekend against the Mets.
When I say “their ineffectiveness” I am absolutely not including Logan Gilbert in that assessment, not even a little bit. Over the seven innings he pitched he did give up six hits and two walks, and was marked down for having three earned runs against him, but more on that later. He threw sixteen of twenty-nine first pitches for strikes, and 101 pitches total for the day, his third time this year he’s thrown more than one hundred. He struck out nine batters tying his season high in his last outing, six of them swinging and three of them looking.
As per usual Logan leaned heavily on his fastball and slider, although we did see a fair amount of the knuckle curve as well. His velocity was as present as ever today as well, sitting around 97 for his fastball but even reaching as high as 99, and even his slider topped out at 90.7 mph. Across all of his pitches he had an impressive CSW of 35%. While he did face a season high 29 batters, after his trouble in the 2nd inning he mostly settled down, and faced the minimum in the 3rd, 4th, and 7th innings. Here are all nine of his strikeouts, including getting Tapia to swing under a 99mph fastball:
His worst inning came in the second when he gave up a ground ball single to Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk, plunked Matt Chapman with a 97 mph first pitch fastball, then after striking out Gurriel on three pitches gave up a soft line drive single to Espinal to load the bases. I was quickly reminded of Gilbert’s last game where the only mistake he allowed damage on was a grand slam. Silly me, for not realizing that worse things can happen. Worse things like the Seattle Mariners somehow tricking themselves into thinking that Steven Souza Jr. is a competent outfielder.
The first pitch to George Springer was a slider that got away from Gilbert and was helmet-high, coming very close to clipping Springer. The next pitch was sent into shallow right field in what for Dylan Moore or Jarred Kelenic would have likely ended in an inning ending catch for the third out, keeping the game scoreless. At the very least, if they were unable to track it down, odds are they would have done the smart thing and played it on a hop, limiting the damage to one run at most, if that. The ball only left George Springer’s bat at 71.5 mph, so it wasn’t exactly difficult to field. Instead, Souza did this:
Everything about that play was bad, and did nothing to wash the bad taste away from the fact that Souza was just involved in another disappointing bases loaded situation, when in the top of the inning he grounded into a double play to end the inning and effectively killed the closest chance the Mariners had today of scoring any runs. The only real good that I can say that came of his being in the game today, or on the roster at all, is that the raw disgust at his amateur level of play is the most solidarity I’ve seen in the Mariners fandom for quite some time. I have had a splitting migraine all day that has only gotten worse as the day gets longer, with an extremely fussy baby, and I would rather experience this feeling every second of every day than ever have to watch Steven Souza Jr. in a Mariners uniform ever again.
Penn Murfee also made an appearance on the mound today in the bottom of the 8th, and even though he walked two, he struck out one and got out of the inning without any damage. The bullpen has been a mixture of underperforming and injury bitten, but one bright side to that is that we are getting a good look at Murfee and in my opinion he’s earned himself a spot in the ‘pen moving forward.
On the offensive side there was very little production of note. We matched the Blue Jays only getting six hits, but without the ability or the luck to capitalize on it. Julio Rodríguez had the only multi-hit night, going 2 for 3 with two singles. Mike Ford also had a good night at the plate, exercising enough patience to draw two walks in three of his at bats. After going hitless into the seventh inning, Winker was able to get a single to extend his hitting streak to nine games. It was far from a game changing performance, but it is still nice to see Winker’s luck turning around for the better consistently.
Games like this are going to happen. We don’t have to like it, we don’t even have to accept it, but if there is anything Mariners fans are good at, its forgetting about it and moving on. Stellar pitching performances ruined by bad luck, bad defense, and no run support is in our blood. As bad as games like this feel, the team has been trending in the right direction. Who knows if its enough to make the playoffs this year. Thankfully we do know that we will have the pleasure, and it has and will continue to be a pleasure, of watching great young players like Julio Rodríguez and Logan Gilbert start to make their mark on the league.