Today the Mariners came to the End of the Road of this three-game set and completed the sweep of the Tigers with a decisive shutout win, 7-0. The pitching staff was Cruisin, and the offense was Money, so Ooh Baby Baby, Get Ready to read all about a delightful day in Motown.
Yesterday, we saw Marco Gonzales struggle a little with the aggressive Tigers, uncharacteristically missing outside the zone, falling behind in counts, and giving up some hard contact. That wasn’t the case with today’s starter Logan Gilbert, who decided to go with a fastball-heavy approach, essentially carving his arsenal down to two pitches, the fastball and slider. It was All [He] Needed To Get By.
Logan Gilbert's 4Ks thru 2.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2022
The Wave Goodbye K strut is a nice touch. pic.twitter.com/OTRf1F7NXW
Logan Gilbert, 8th and 9th Ks.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2022
Thru 6. pic.twitter.com/KeuP7SJuAQ
Gilbert got the Tigers whiffing after his fastball 31% of the time and whiffing after his slider 60% (!) of the time, occasionally busting out the curveball for fun, as he cruised through six innings on just two hits, making the Tigers batters look like a Chain Of Fools. One of those hits was a hard-hit Javier Báez single in the first, the other, a weakly-hit ground ball single from Riley Greene in the third. The third inning was the only time Gilbert faced anything approaching danger from these Tigers, starting the inning off with his one walk of the day, to Tucker Barnhart. With two on after the Greene single and one out, Gilbert got Victor Reyes swinging, and Taylor Trammell—called up today as part of roster expansion, hooray for Tay—made a sweet diving catch to end the inning:
And that would be it for Gilbert, who proceeded to methodically dismantle the Tigers offense over the next three innings. He said he felt like his slider, which he recently made a “slight tweak” to, felt really good today, so he leaned on it heavily, and was happy with his command of the zone—being on the edges without being too far in the middle of the plate, allowing him to whip the fastball past Tigers hitters and rack up nine strikeouts.
Gilbert’s day was cut short at just 89 pitches after six innings, because the bullpen was rested and the Mariners had built a big lead by that point as the Tigers offense Haven’t Done Nothin’ all game; the whole thing had the feeling of finishing off a not-too-taxing school assignment having put in just the right amount of effort. Gold stars for Logan, and for the rest of the bullpen, who finished off the Tigers with three more scoreless innings. Matt Brash destroyed the Tigers with some nasty sliders, striking out two in his inning, and almost looked apologetic about it. The other roster expansion callup and the other MB in the bullpen, Matthew Boyd, making his Mariners debut, needed all of eight pitches to collect three ground ball outs. In those eight pitches, Boyd showed off his starter’s arsenal of curveball, changeup, four-seam and two-seam; it will be really interesting to see how the team uses him going forward. Penn Murfee allowed a couple of hits—Greene’s second hit of the day and a little parachute shot off the bat of Harold Castro—but was able to escape damage and proving he was up to Second That Emotion and preserve the shutout.
And while we’re awarding gold stars, there’s gotta be one for this catch Sam Haggerty almost made with Brash on the mound:
Mark this down as the day Sam Haggerty broke Aaron Goldsmith. It’s a shame that wasn’t ruled a catch—you can see here why it was ruled to be net-aided:
—but on the bright side, this allowed Brash to go back and collect a strikeout, much to the delight of his family and friends in attendance (Canada is close to Detroit, they say). Haggerty, whose mother was [Journey voice] born and raised in South Detroit, also had some family in attendance, so everyone wins. But especially these fans, who Can’t Help [Themselves] but to be amazed by Spider-Sam, Spider-Sam, doing whatever a Swaggy Ham can.
With the pitching staff tossing a shutout, the Mariners would only have needed one (1) run to win today’s game, and Eduardo Rodríguez Got To Give It Up right away, as the Mariners capitalized on a leadoff walk to Julio and a misplay by the Tigers’ third baseman Candelario. One thing the Tigers cannot do is give the Mariners free baserunners and extra outs, as Eugenio Suárez immediately turned on an Eduardo Rodríguez fastball for a single to score Julio and, for the second day in a row, stake the Mariners to an early lead. The Tigers must have felt like there was a Ghost In [Their] House as the specter of yesterday’s game haunted today’s right out of the gate with these early runs.
But even though one run would be all the Mariners would need to win on the day, that’s not all they got, because Everybody Needs Love in this lineup. In the third inning, Julio was up again, and he’s getting real tired of all this talk about a certain other Rookie of the Year candidate, and decided to remind everyone why he, not a certain slap-hitting Cleveland outfielder, is the true ROY:
JULIOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Julio Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/kRq8kZW6P8— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) September 1, 2022
Julio just makes it look so Easy. Then, because Ty France is a responsible babysitter who won’t let his young charge wander away unattended, the Au Pair (credit to mbmatt on Twitter) chased the rookie around the basepaths with a solo shot of his own:
Ty France goes back-2-back with the young star and the M's are cooking in Detroit! pic.twitter.com/Si95l4bMqh— Just Baseball (@JustBBMedia) September 1, 2022
Ty France, My Cherie Amour. Again, because shutout, that would be all the Mariners would need, but they went ahead and added a few more runs anyway: it wouldn’t be an “all OBP all the time” Mariners game without J.P. taking at least one walk and Sam Haggerty turning a double into a single, setting up Curt Casali to get his second hit as a Mariner, a big two-run double:
One more RBI single from Ty “je suis fixed” France pushed the lead to 6-0, and in the ninth, a bases-loaded walk from the eagle-eyed Toro made it 7-0. Every Little Bit Hurts. If we’re nitpicking we could point to another eight runners left on base today, which is somewhat of a cost of doing business when you have just so, so many baserunners—the Mariners had traffic on the bases in every inning except the second and eighth (Haggerty and Casali being the common denominators in both those innings). But we come to praise these Mariners, now a season-high 15 games over .500, having recorded their ninth series sweep of the season, and having done so over a team they should have taken at least a series win from if not the sweep. Bachman-Turner Overdrive might be a Canadian band (which sources tell me is very close to Detroit, anyway), but seeing the Mariners Takin’ Care of Business is satisfying no matter where it happens.