This series could have been a back breaker for both the 2022 Seattle Mariners and for spirits of beleaguered Mariners fans everywhere. Reeling from a disastrous road trip and a disappointing series loss to the tanking-yet-still-wily Oakland Athletics, the Houston Astros rolled into town with all the doom and gloom of whatever the hell this year’s Northwest spring weather is doing to us.
And yet, here we are, staring down securing a sweep tomorrow with a series win in the bag. Perhaps buoyed by the return of Kyle Lewis, the Mariners offense came alive in these first two games of the series and said, “Bad cluster luck? More like bad (censored).”
I had my doubts that the Mariners could match or top the emotional high of crushing Justin Verlander in front of a delirious, retro-hatted Friday night crowd. It would feel like a generally “Mariners of old” thing to do, to just come out and lay an egg on Saturday night against a much better team. But, past Mariners teams didn’t have Julio Rodríguez, Kyle Lewis, Logan Gilbert, and Ty France all on the field at the same time. Those fellas clearly had other plans for tonight.
Before I get into all the good Mariners things tonight, I wouldn’t be a responsible and spiteful Mariners fan if I didn’t include this delightful parade of whoopsies performed by the Astros in the field tonight. Remember the Disastros? Might be making a comeback, I dunno...
A series of whoopsies by the Houston Astros tonight pic.twitter.com/hBiuZmkDgA— Eric Sanford (@sanford_and_son) May 29, 2022
Ahhhh, that was nice, wasn’t it? Soothing. Anyways, onto the rest of the shellacking.
Julio Rodríguez is Good
Have you taken the time to appreciate Julio Rodríguez today? This young stud continues to blossom before our very eyes in such a way that our staff fears we’re not appreciating him enough. Will regression come? (/Tommy Lee Jones voice) I don’t care! I’m having too much fun watching him steal bases with ease, patrol center field with confidence, and rip high-EV line drives and home runs. Julio went 3 for 4 tonight with a fielder’s choice and stole a base, raising his wRC+ to 121 and his fWAR currently sits at 1.1. Yowza. His third hit of the game, an oppo base knock, chased starter José Urquidy from the game.
Kyle Lewis, please never leave us again
It’s only been three games, but whatever can be done to make sure Kyle Lewis is in every lineup possible going forward, the team needs to do it. Look at the ease with which he crushes this high fastball 420 feet (heh) into the left field bleachers.
️ Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back! pic.twitter.com/XuSoDt1RxW— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 29, 2022
(ayo, Mariners social droppin’ the John Wick reference, I see you and I respect it!)
However, there was this scary moment, in which Urquidy almost became a war criminal, but thankfully the ball hit Lewis’s shoulder and not his head.
Just...please everyone...take a moment to pray/wish/manifest nothing but good health for Kyle Lewis going forward. This offense has a lot more punch (and seemingly more good vibes) with him in it and they’re going to need it.
Ty France is also Good
Speaking of under-appreciating players, oh yeah Ty France is still here spraying balls all over the damn ball field at will, like he did with a 2-run single in the sixth inning to really blow the game open for the Mariners. France currently checks in with a whopping 178 wRC+ and 1.9 fWAR. Hon hon hon, indeed.
That’s Logan’s secret, he’s always angry
Probably not, actually. He seems pretty laid back when he’s not on the mound. But wow, what a confident and dominating outing for Gilbert tonight as he becomes the first Mariners starter to throw 7 scoreless innings this season. José Altuve ambushed Gilbert for a single on the first pitch of the game, but it did not rattle Gilbert whatsoever. He buckled down, seemed to adjust his approach slightly throughout the game, and simply overpowered hitters at times with pure heat. Five strikeouts, zero walks(!), and only four hits against the dangerous Astros offense. His 100th and final pitch of the game landed for a strike at 97 mph and Gilbert let us know how he felt about it.
The Mariners bullpen held up their end of the bargain with 2 more scoreless innings and then it was all over except for the outfielder’s huddle.
Mariners go for the sweep tomorrow at 1:10 PM with Marco Gonzales on the mound. Sweep or not, we fans deserved and needed these last two games as a reminder of the simple joy baseball can bring into our lives. I know I did. Keep it going, Mariners.