Game 58, Red Sox at Mariners

marc w · June 10, 2022 at 5:21 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Rich Hill, 7:10pm

The M’s won a second straight series from the Astros on Wednesday. It wasn’t always pretty, but the M’s won 2 of 3 from Houston *in Houston* after earlier beating them in Seattle. They’ve won 3 of the 4 series they’ve played against the Astros this year. Look, I wish that these wins meant more, or that Houston and Seattle were neck and neck in the standings. But they’re not meaningless either, not for a Mariner team that was dangerously close to falling out of the hunt completely. These series wins coupled with the epic collapse of the Angels mean we get to care about the standings for a little longer, and sure, hopefully a lot longer.

But if we’re going to do that, the M’s have to beat teams like Boston. The four-game sweep in Boston was the early season’s low point, and while they’ve bounced back admirably, they have to figure out how to grind out wins against good but flawed teams like this. The bullpen that was such a problem early has been improving steadily, kind of an echo of last year’s success (as were the almost bizarre late-game rallies we’ve seen recently).

One thing that’s *nothing* like last year is the M’s batting success at T-Mobile park. A year after a BABIP-depressed home line of .214/.296/.367, they’re hitting .256/.346/.419 at home – 5th best in MLB. Sure, on the road, things are still a little bleak, but being able to hit at home helps them create a legitimate home field advantage, and it helps their pitchers feel a bit less pressure – that one solo HR might doom their start. T-Mobile boasts the 5th highest wOBA (for the M’s and their opponents) and the 5th highest exit velocity. It’s still not a real hitters park, but it’s also not an anchor on the offense this year, which is kind of remarkable given the cold we’ve seen in the area this year.

It’s also just not somewhere they’ve *played* very often thus far. I saw Scott Servais’ minor complaint about the brutal schedule and travel the M’s have had thus far, and it’s pretty accurate. The M’s have played 35 road games thus far, and none in Oakland or Anaheim, and just 22 home contests. They’ll have a nice streak of home games and closer road travels through the rest of the month.

Marco Gonzales is having a repeat of his 2021 season, as his K rate drops, his HR rate spikes, and it…all just sort of works out somehow? His FIP, his expected stats, DRA, all of them are horrified, but while a 4 ERA doesn’t mean the same thing it meant in 2019, he’s still on the good side of the line. I think a K rate of 13.7%, as Marco’s is now, is borderline unless you’re a world class ground baller, and Marco is not. He’s gone to his change-up more than he ever has as a Mariner, and while it’s been his best pitch, I’m not thrilled that he’s doing so because his breaking balls – cutter and curve – have been so ineffective. Getting those right is going to be key to restoring at least some bat-missing, and that can help him avoid big innings. If it helps, maybe his teammates can make up some stories about him being disrespected by that day’s opponents or something; he always pitches well when he thinks he’s being overlooked.

1: Winker, LF
2: France, 1B
3: Rodriguez, CF
4: Crawford, SS
5: Suarez, 3B
6: Moore, RF
7: Toro, 2B
8: Torrens, DH
9: Raleigh, C
SP: Gonzales

Tacoma beat Salt Lake 5-3 last night, getting a win for Darren McCaughan, and giving the loss to one of Jerry Dipoto’s first acquisitions as M’s GM, Jonathan Aro. Aro was acquired from Boston in the Wade Miley deal, heading east for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias back in late 2015. Tacoma’s supposed to start a series at home against Round Rock tonight, but that…might be difficult.

Arkansas split a double-header with Wichita last night. It was Joe Rizzo’s best night of the year, as he hit three HRs over the two (shortened) games, giving him 9 on the year.

Everett beat Hillsboro 4-2, with Bryce Miller pitching 6 excellent innings in what turned out to be a no-decision.

Modesto lost at Inland Empire, 3-1. Sam Carlson had a strong outing in relief.


2 Responses to “Game 58, Red Sox at Mariners”

  1. MKT on June 12th, 2022 8:46 am

    The June 11 game was reminiscent of last season, when unlikely heroes such as Dylan Moore and Abraham Toro would come through in the clutch.

    The playoffs of course are a distant hope this season, but the Ms are experiencing some regression to the mean this season: they aren’t as bad at their won-loss record was suggesting a couple of weeks ago, but they’re still just a .500-ish team which in the end probably won’t be enough. 2023 is the season to aim for.

  2. bookbook on June 12th, 2022 9:17 am

    6-8 teams are legitimately better than the M’s.

    The team is at least one bat (Winker? Kelenic?) short and also at least one starting pitcher

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