From the start, the Mariners struggled today, and it seemed like nothing wanted to go their way, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The control and power issues became evident early on, and I can’t help but think about Servais's quote from a couple of days ago about getting this team focused. This game certainly felt like a lapse in concentration.
The usually dominant and accurate Castillo struggled today with his command. Despite walking the first two batters of the game, he did come back and strike out the next two and ended the inning on a harmless ground out. On the other side of the ball, the Mariners showed some early life with a looooong foul ball from JP Crawford which would become a symbol for the rest of the game as the Mariners continued to come up just short. Ty France follows that up with a walk, and Teoscar Hernandez hits one 104 mph for a very tough flyout to center. This would remain the theme of the day.
From there, the game settled into a pitching duel, but it wasn’t one defined by domination as it was by mild control issues, bad calls, and long outs. The Marlins struck first in the third inning: an infield single for Jonathan Davies, despite a valiant effort from Caballero, followed by a walk to Arraez brought up Jorge Soler. Soler grounded one hard to second: the Mariners got Arraez at first but couldn’t turn two, leading to men on first and third with two outs. Castillo then buried a slider in the dirt, and Davies trotted home on the wild pitch, putting the Marlins up 1-0 in the third. This theme of narrow misses would continue for the Mariners all night.
Both pitchers continued to struggle to put guys away cleanly, often getting to 0-2 or 1-2 counts and allowing the batter to battle back into the count. On top of their control issues, many bad calls and check swings exacerbated the situation, as both starters saw their pitch counts begin to creep up. In the fourth, Ty France took Perez deep to center again for another long fly out with an exit velo of 97 mph. Teoscar Hernandez followed that up with the Mariners' first hit of the game, lining a double into right field; however, with two outs already in the inning, the Mariners were unable to make anything happen, as Jarred Kelenic was called out on a check swing on a changeup below the zone, a swing he had to make due to questionable calls made earlier in the at-bat.
The Mariners’ bad luck continued in the fifth. Suarez took a pitch for a ride, but Johnathan Davies made yet another nice leaping catch at the wall to end any hope of the Mariners hitting the ball hard and being awarded a hit. It reminds me of my own gameplay in MLB the Show 23. Big Dumper followed Suarez with a nice double into the gap. While it did not yield a run, it did give us this wonderful gif.
If nothing else, at least we can all come together to mock Logan Gilbert for his struggles to grow facial hair.
Jorge Soler opened up the 6th inning with a 409-foot blast to right center, putting the Marlins up 2-0: quite the cruel twist of fate considering the three extra-base hits that the park held earlier in the day. Castillo then walked the next batter, bringing Brash out of the pen and ending his day. Castillo finished the day with six walks, matching his career high.
The bullpen did okay but couldn’t quite to stop the bleeding [if only we had one Blood Clot Gott - KP]. Justin Topa conceded two singles, a double, and another single to bring home two more for the Marlins in the 8th, putting them up 4-0.
The Mariners scraped one back in the 9th, but in the most anticlimactic way possible. Suárez hit one off AJ Puk way deep to right field, and Jesus “Saves” Sanchez made a great leaping catch at the wall to deny Geno the game-tying grand slam. Ty France tagged from third and scampers home. The baseball gods hath ordained the Mariners were not meant to win this game. Cal Raleigh flew out in the next at-bat to end the game.
The Mariners gave up a total of eight walks tonight, and while not every single one was the fault of the pitcher, there were a lot of bad calls, and both teams did a good job of fighting their way back into counts. You’re not gonna be in a position to win walking that many people. The offense also failed to show up today after two big outings in the other two games of the series. Most of that can be attributed to bad luck and poor calls, but the middle of the order has to show up more consistently. The Mariners are sitting one game under .500 with an off day tomorrow. While it’s great they took two of three from one of the best teams in the NL, it’s also frustrating to look at that W-L record, still stubbornly stuck around .500, and to start asking what needs to be done to make this team more consistent: more consistent pitching, more consistent offense, more consistent everything.