It was the best of strikeouts, it was the worst of home runs
Coming off of a win last night, and Logan Gilbert getting the start, I was excited that I was going to get to recap today’s game. The Phillies have not great defense, and despite their struggles, the Mariners actually have one of the better offenses in the league, as Evan, Kate, and John pointed out on the most recent LL podcast. I definitely think Gilbert was outperforming his reality to start the season, but even with regression would be easily one of our top of the rotation guys and settle into a healthy major league career. I forgot that even if that is true, there are ways it could also not be. I forgot that I was watching the Seattle Mariners, even though a lifetime of fandom has taught me better. This 2-4 loss to the Phillies was a cold reminder.
Logan Gilbert had his fastball sitting consistently 96-97, and touching 98. Logan Gilbert also had a really bad time locating his off speed pitches, and gave up three walks, something slowly becoming a problem for the young pitcher. He threw fastballs for 61 of his 95 pitches, inducing 10 whiffs out of 38 swings, or 26%. It was enough to get on Rob Friedman’s radar:
Logan Gilbert, 97mph
Love his mound presence. pic.twitter.com/nkOPZvh2py
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 11, 2022
Not once, but twice:
Logan Gilbert, 97mph ⛽️
5Ks thru 3 pic.twitter.com/AeAeqnrI6U
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 11, 2022
It was enough to get nine strikeouts, eight of them swinging. Four of those swinging strikeouts came in a row, at the back end of the fourth inning and the start of the fifth, Gilbert having gotten fired up enough to finish strong after giving up a single, walking two, and letting Hoskins go yard on a middle fastball for a grand slam.
In all fairness to Gilbert, he was working a no-hitter going into the fourth and while he didn’t look his best, it feels unfair that his outing and this game was ultimately decided by one bad inning. Logan Gilberts final line was 5 IP, 9Ks, 3 BBs, and 4 ER on 3 hits. If you want to wash the taste of that grand salami out of your mouth and remind yourself that Logan Gilbert is Good, Actually, then here are all nine of his strikeouts:
On the hitting side of things the duality only continued, but ultimately the positive could not overcome the negative, and the Seattle Mariners tradition of not capitalizing on runners in scoring position reared its ugly head and a total of 14 batters were left stranded. Collectively they amassed eight hits, but six of those came from three batters, and they struck out for a collective ten times, only drawing two walks.
France and Crawford both had 2 for 4 nights, as did Frazier who had both hits for doubles. Although, if we’re being truthful, it was probably a double and a tagged out at second. After all, what good are replays for if not controversy?
Julio Rodríguez had a 1 for 4 night with one strikeout, but that single was good for an RBI and extending his hitting streak to a healthy six games. That one strikeout was an ugly, three-pitch, swinging strikeout, but more and more those moments are rare and professional level at-bats are becoming the norm. It was also in the first inning with a runner on, and I can’t exactly blame him for pressing in an attempt to put us up early.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 11, 2022
On Kelenic watch, he made one appearance pinch hitting in the ninth, and did no favors to counter the “he needs time in the minors/something is badly wrong with him” crowd. He was ultimately called out on strikes, on pitches that you absolutely should be swinging at if you want to call yourself a Major League hitter.
The bullpen that was surprisingly elite last season and was expected to return to form this season, but hasn’t quite arrived there yet, took one step closer to earning that reputation back today. Penn Murfee continued to impress at the major league level, allowing two hits, but working out of it and fanning one in his one inning appearance, keeping an ERA made up entirely of goose eggs. Misiewicz, Mills, and Steckenrider then held the Phillies scoreless in that order, each working an inning apiece and only giving up two more hits and adding three strikeouts to the team total, which ended the day at thirteen.
If you ignore that grand slam, it was actually a pretty good game. If you ignore the amount of runners we left on base, it was a great game. It was the best of games, it was the worst of games. It was fun to watch, it was terrible to watch. It was a miserable affair with just enough moments of hope to make the crushing defeat all that more crushing. It was the 2022 Seattle Mariners.