Mariners drop into third place
May 20, 2021
Seattle began the week by dropping both games in the Dodgers series and losing the first game of the Cleveland series. This put their losing streak at five games and made it their longest of the season. The first game in Los Angeles was particularly disappointing as the Mariners led 4-3 going into the eight-inning only to lose the game when Gavin Lux hit a three-run home run. It was Lux’s first home run of the season. Rafael Montero, the Mariners closer, got the loss in the game for giving up the home run. He also recorded his fifth blown save of the season, which leads all of baseball. Montero’s ERA is now at 5.71 and will likely be replaced at closer going forward by Kendall Graveman, who has quickly produced five saves and allowed no earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched so far this season.
Seattle managed to win the series against Cleveland, winning the last three games of the series after dropping the first game. Chris Flexen improved to 4-1 on the season and led the pitching staff in wins. More impressive was the Mariners handed Aaron Civale his first loss of the season. Civale went into the game with a 5-0 record. They also beat Shane Bieber, who leads the majors in strikeouts with 92 in just 59.2 innings pitched.
Not only did the Mariners bring up top prospect Jarred Kelenic this week, but they also brought up Logan Gilbert. Gilbert, a 6’6” 225-pound right-handed pitcher, was taken as the fourteenth pick in the first round of the 2018 draft. Gilbert is projected to be part of the new core of Mariners starting pitchers. He throws a fastball in the mid-nineties and has had high strikeout rates of 30%+ in the minors with a walk rate around six percent. With Kelenic starting in centerfield Taylor Trammell has been demoted to Tacoma. In ninety-five plate appearances, he had struck out forty-one times. Another outfielder Braden Bishop was designated for assignment and picked up by the San Francisco Giants off of waivers.
Usually, after about forty games into the year, you can get an idea of how good or bad a season a team is going to have. With this season, we won’t know until the Mariners finish a stretch of fourteen games from May 24th to June 6th. All fourteen of these games will be against teams in their division, and six of them will be against the Oakland A’s, who they haven’t faced yet this season. The A’s, who are currently in first place in the West, have only played seven games in the division. All of them have been against the Houston Astros, who they are 2-5 against. On the other side of the scale, the Astros are 19-8 inside the division and are the only team with a winning record in division play. Seattle is 6-7 against the West, so it is challenging to judge where they will finish in the standings.