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Logan Gilbert stops the losing spirals

When the Mariners need a win, Logan Gilbert - aka “Walter” - isn’t just the one who knocks, he’s also the one who answers.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox
Walter in action
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the vibes this past Tuesday night were absolutely rancid after the Mariners let a seven-run lead evaporate, stretching their losing streak to three games—three games that theoretically should have been winnable for the Mariners, featuring back-to-back extra-inning losses and the aforementioned collapse. Things felt bad, man. The Mariners needed their stopper to put an end to the bleeding. Luckily, they had that exact guy going on the mound the next day.

No, not Luis Castillo. This guy:

Chicago White Sox v Seattle Mariners
You might know him as Walter
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Usually, a team’s stopper is also their staff ace, someone who is near-guaranteed to turn in a stellar performance and put their team in a good spot to win. But with the strength of the Mariners pitching staff as a whole, the Mariners aren’t as dependent as some other teams on having an ace that can bail them out of a losing streak. That’s not to say they don’t fall into those losing streaks, though, and when they do, Logan Gilbert has been the guy to get the team out of the tailspin. Here’s how Gilbert performed last year in games he started while the Mariners were mired in a losing streak of at least two games:

Logan Gilbert: Record in 2022 after losing streaks of 2+ games

Start Losing Streak Dates # of games in losing streak Innings Pitched Hits Runs ER K BB ERA FIP Game Result Pitcher Result Streak snapped?
Start Losing Streak Dates # of games in losing streak Innings Pitched Hits Runs ER K BB ERA FIP Game Result Pitcher Result Streak snapped?
4/14 4/10 - 4/13 4 5 4 1 0 4 0 0 1.51 W (5-1) W Y
5/1 4/27 - 4/30 4 5.2 3 1 1 5 4 1.59 5.76 W (7-3) W Y
5/6 5/2 - 5/7 6 5 7 4 3 6 3 5.4 2.51 L (7-8) ND N
5/22 5/19 - 5/22 4 7 5 3 3 4 2 3.86 6.54 L (4-8) (F/10) ND N
6/14 6/12 - 6/13 2 6 4 0 0 6 1 0 1.61 W (5-0) W Y
8/2 7/31 - 8/1 2 5.1 7 6 6 2 4 10.13 11.92 W (8-6) ND Y
9/19 9/16 - 9/18 3 6 4 1 1 11 1 1.5 -0.05 W (9-1) W Y

Five out of seven times, Gilbert was able to halt the losing streak in its tracks. The two times he didn’t were in the middle of an overall shaky May where the team lost four of his starts in a row, and in one of those starts, he went seven innings, helping to preserve the bullpen in a game that dragged into extras and setting up a streak-busting win over Oakland the next day (Marco sends his regards for the win). The other time he failed to stop the losing streak, in early May, would be the longest losing streak the team would suffer all season, at six games.

There’s also one weird outlier game here where Gilbert got a no-decision after giving up six runs to the Yankees, but the Mariners won anyway, paying back the favor by picking up their pitcher who had picked them up so many times. Gilbert’s ERA for these losing-streak games is 3.07, but removing that Yankees game drops it to 2.08 (FIP: 4.14, and 3.075 without the Yankees game.)

Maybe the last game of this set is the most dramatic; it’s definitely the one that looms largest in my memory. With the playoffs in sight, the Mariners were floundering against the detestable Angels, dropping the first three games of a four-game series. Gilbert, playing the role of stopper, shut the Angels down over six innings, striking out eleven batters for a new career high.

While yesterday’s game didn’t have quite the high-stakes drama of a mid-playoff-hunt, late-season game against a detested divisional rival, it was as close to a necessary early-season win as you can get, helping to wipe away the taste of blown leads and missed opportunities that’s flavored so many of these early-season Mariners losses and those three games in particular. With yesterday’s game added to the numbers above, Gilbert’s ERA in mid-losing-streak games drops to 2.84. (Cutting out the Damn Yankees game drops it to 1.94.) More importantly, his performance on Wednesday—6.2 innings pitched, one run (earned), seven strikeouts and one walk—helped save a tuckered-out bullpen and ensure the narrow lead the Mariners built and nursed over the first six innings of this game would hold up.

Logan Gilbert might not be the first name you think of when you think of what pitcher to send to the mound in a must-win game—he might not even be the second in this rotation—but his track record shows that when the Mariners need him most, “Walter” is ready to answer the knock. And if Beacon Plumbing is smart, they’re cooking up their Logan Gilbert/Best Stopper ad as we speak.