After subjecting their fans to a needlessly nailbiter series against the Royals and then a thrilling is-this-real-life sweep against the hated Astros, the Mariners decided to take it easy on their fanbase tonight, cruising to a 14-2 win over the White Sox, possibly the only group of people more beleaguered than Mariners fans this season. That fourteen runs is a season high, propped up heavily by a two-home run night from Cal Raleigh, re-emerging after a 1-for-11, six-strikeout weekend against the Astros.
The Mariners jumped on White Sox starter Touki Toussaint early tonight, which makes me sad because I love Touki and always want better for him, but also pleased because I am so pleased to see the Mariners take some better plate appearances and really keep the heat on a struggling starter—something they did poorly early in the season, but have been much better at recently. By the time many fans were still settling in with their snacks and drinks (and by that I mean Mariners fans; from the looks of it, there weren’t long lines at Guaranteed Rate Field tonight) the Mariners had knocked Toussaint around for five runs, starting with the captain himself, J.P. Crawford, returned from the concussion protocol and back to his OBPowerful ways. J.P. walked and Eugenio followed him with a four-pitch walk of his own, setting up Ty France to single to load the bases. A wild pitch moved all the runners up and gave the Mariners their first run of the night, but then Cal Raleigh hit the first of a night of Big Dumps:
But wait, there would be more. After Cade Marlowe worked a walk, he stole second, and then Cal was able to take home on the throw by Grandal—which, if on line and in time, would have gotten Marlowe at second for the third out, ending the inning. But it was not and it did not: the story of the 2023 White Sox. Mike Ford then walked, and Josh Rojas got in on the fun with an RBI single of his own. Yes yes it’s the Royals and the White Sox, but it’s nice to see Rojas starting to swing the bat with a little more confidence after really scuffling after he came over.
The Mariners didn’t let up, either. While we’ve seen this team hang big innings on starters early only to take their foot off the gas, the Mariners kept traffic on the bases against Toussaint and the White Sox, finally cashing in the payload in the fifth with some back-to-back jacks:
But the Mariners would not be nicer to the White Sox bullpen. Mike Ford almost had another home run in the same inning off reliever Tanner Banks, but Luis Robert remains a very good, very tall outfielder. (How much of being a good outfielder is just being tall enough to have extra-base-robbing reach without sacrificing speed? Are outfielders the equivalent of those of us asked to get things down from the top shelf in grocery stores? And yes this is a tall person #humblebrag)
Tanner Banks, whose name sounds like an off-brand Sandals resort, would not escape this game unscathed, however, as Josh Rojas greeted him with a fly-ball double in the sixth. A single from Suárez moved him to third, and then Ty France’s weekly (biweekly? Which one means twice a week?) HBP loaded the bases for Teoscar, who would have cleaned off those pesky bases and sent all the party guests home early if not for Ty France, known Lingerer:
That officially pushed this game into laugher territory, 9-1, but Cal Raleigh really, really wanted to make sure there was no doubt that he could maybe get at least half a night off:
Again, apologies to Brent Honeywell, a pitcher I’ve rooted for through all the health troubles he’s faced; I feel badly for Honeywell, but this is tremendous Mariners content:
Now Dominic Canzone gets a hold of one and it's all Mariners tonight— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 22, 2023
: FS1 pic.twitter.com/Ma97GyUFe2
Jose Caballero would make sure that every White Sox pitcher the Mariners light touched would be their kingdom, adding on with an RBI single scoring Josh Rojas—on base again!—in the top of the ninth to give the Mariners their 14th run. After Scioscia-poisoned/Carl Fredericksen without the redemption arc/disgraced ex-Angels manager Joe Maddon went on MLB Network this morning and filled his diaper about Cabby, it was very satisfying to see Cabb doing Cabby things as per usual: getting HBP, jawing at the pitcher some, and generally being a pest. He is truly this webcomic:
With the Mariners hanging double-digit runs, all Luis Castillo had to be was fine, but he, being La Piedra, was more than that: he gave the Mariners seven innings, enough to where they could use a pair of pitchers who were playing in places like Salt Lake and Reno a few days ago, to close out the game: Eduard Bazardo worked around a couple of hits and a walk, striking out two to post a zero, and Darren McCaughan got a little unlucky, giving up a run but striking out three.
But the story is really Castillo, who struck out nine, giving up just one run in the first inning, when certified Mariner-killer Elvis Andrus led off with a double and came around to score on a double from Eloy Jimenez, fielded confusingly by Dominic Canzone. Cammy to Canzone, come in please. But as is so often his wont, Castillo “let the game talk to him” and settled into a rhythm, rocking the White Sox to sleep over subsequent innings. As the Mariners’ lead grew like the Grinch’s heart that day, Raleigh started calling for more and more fastballs, finishing on 47 consecutive fastballs:
Luis Castillo just threw 47 Consecutive Fastballs. pic.twitter.com/LOv4sD2QuJ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 22, 2023
Look, why even mess around with anything else if you can just throw the fastball, have a quick AB, and move on. My favorite place to go eat breakfast is Easy Street Records Cafe in West Seattle, and while I like to try different dishes on the menu, all named after musical luminaries, I always just come back to the Dolly: a perfect plate of two pancakes (I get blueberries), two eggs, and two strips of bacon. Ain’t broke, don’t fix, etc.
Speaking of ain’t broke: Cade Marlowe’s outfield defense, which helped out Castillo early on before he settled down into that rocking chair. This was Marlowe’s first big-league start in center, and he was doing it at an unfamiliar locale, but looked pretty comfortable nonetheless:
Per Daniel Kramer, it was a 35% catch probability on that hit—so, not completely impossible, but definitely still a high degree of difficulty.
And, because this is the season where we do these things, if you’re scoreboard watching, the Red Sox were predictably no help against the Astros (et tu, Big Maple?), but the D-Backs won a thriller in extras against the Rangers; former Mariner Ketel Marte homered to tie the game, and Paul Sewald pitched a scoreless tenth inning. Love u always, Sea Wald. Sorry about the late recap; I was also watching this game and chewing off what was left of my nails, already bitten down to the quick from the first two series of this road trip. Mariners baseball: even when it’s easy, it’s not easy!
Also, because I couldn’t shoehorn this into the chart art, h/t LL Emeritus Matthew Roberson for this parting image of today’s player of the game: