In today’s series preview, Jake and John outlined how the Twins are in many ways the AL Central version of the Mariners, but have the benefit of playing in, you know, the AL Central. This could be a pivotal series to see which of these 500-ish teams is ready to charge ahead in the second half and which is content to swim along in mediocrity. Or maybe they’ll both just kind of flail at each other for four games. Who knows! It won’t get off to an easy start for the Mariners, who have to face All-Star pitcher Sonny Gray to begin the series, who is exactly the kind of pitcher the 2023 Mariners have struggled with, featuring a deep, diverse pitch mix and the ability to limit barrels and suppress hard contact.
The Mariners will counter with their own tough pitcher in Logan Gilbert, last week’s AL Player of the Week, on the mound. Pregame, Servais praised Gilbert’s improved secondaries as a difference-maker in his recent run of success, pointing to the slider, especially, as “a real weapon for him in any count” thanks to improved command of the pitch. Servais also said one of the things that’s changed for Logan is his “game awareness,” understanding which at-bats are critical midgame, or when he’s at the end of his outing and can begin emptying the tank, or how to focus on efficiency rather than throwing hard to get through those final few innings. Servais also noted that as a bigger guy, sometimes Gilbert is susceptible to getting mechanically out of whack, but he’s cleaned that up as the season has progressed. “He’s in a really good spot right now. I love having him out there. I just think he can work his way through any lineup.”
Today’s game info:
Tonight’s game is a 6:40 start. Dave Sims and Dan Wilson will have the television broadcast on ROOT Sports NW, while Aaron Goldsmith will do the radio duties on 710 AM Seattle Sports.
This long homestand stretches on with some fun giveaways and special events. Tonight it’s Bark in the Park night, tomorrow is Ty France bobblehead night, and Wednesday is trading card day presented by Topps. I’m excited to at least see some cute doggos tonight.
Today in Mariners history:
- 1979: A brand-new Mariners club hosted the All-Star Game for the first time before a record crowd of 58,905 in the Kingdome. The crowd greeted Mariners representative Bruce Bochte with a standing ovation, who hit an RBI single. What dreams we all had for this franchise back then.
- 1986: Mark Langston tossed a career-high 10 innings, something a modern-day pitcher can only dream of; Jim Presley paid back Langston’s efforts by hitting a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the 11th inning.
- 1988: Alvin Davis passes Bruce Bochte to become the Mariners’ all-time hit leader with 698 career hits. Davis would finish his Mariners career with 1163 hits, 6th all-time in the franchise.
- 2018: After winning the fan vote to get to the All-Star Game, Jean Segura hit a 3-run home run in the All-Star Game to put the AL team ahead, ultimately helping the team win 8-6, although Alex Bregman would win MVP for his go-ahead solo home run in the 10th inning. Barring a rules change, that would be the last All-Star Game to ever go into extra innings.
- 2022: Mariners close out the first half of the season with their 14th consecutive win, one shy of matching the franchise-best mark of 15 consecutive wins during the 2001 season.