Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for
This is the type of game you get when you have young, potentially generational talent suiting up for your team: Incredible highs, moments of extreme frustration and, frankly, a fair bit of nonsense.
4 2⁄3 innings of no-hit baseball, four walks and the end of a 17+ scoreless innings streak.
Lowest ERA in first 5 starts of a season, @Mariners history (excluding openers):
0.64 – LOGAN GILBERT (2022)
0.92 – Randy Johnson (1995)
1.11 – Bill Swift (1990)
1.23 – Joel Piñeiro (2001)
1.29 – Doug Fister (2010)
— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) May 1, 2022
Picked off at first and a 450-foot first career homer after nearly a month of play.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 1, 2022
The highs and lows of prospect-dom writ large across six innings in Miami.
Gilbert started out with his typical first inning disparity, dispatching Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia with harmless flyouts on their first pitches but issuing full count walks to Jesus Sanchez and Garrett Cooper – including this 11-pitch battle to Sanchez.
He made it through the second, third and fourth innings without much trouble and with relative efficiency, but then gave up back-to-back singles.
Everyone’s favorite would-be butter churner ultimately escaped the inning unscathed after striking out Jorge Soler on an 87 MPH beauty of a slider.
Seattle was up 2-0 going into the sixth, but nobody who’s watched their last week of baseball felt particularly good about that narrow lead. With two outs, team slugging leader J.P. Crawford doubled to center field and then Don Mattingly made a fateful error. He had Miami ace Sandy Alcántara intentionally walk Abraham Toro to face Julio Rodríguez.
Strategically, it made a lot of sense. Julio has scuffled some in his debut season, while Alcántara has been the ace of Miami’s staff. They already had two down, what could one more out cost, Don? But unfortunately for the Marlins, their scouting report on Julio seems to have missed one critical detail: Julio Rodríguez is a player almost preternaturally fueled by people’s doubts of his abilities.
Alcántara dealt three straight sliders to the rookie, then attempted to power 97 MPH past him on the inside corner. “Attempted” being the operative word.
With that new Julio-ed cushion, Gilbert came out strong in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back strikeouts of Sanchez and Garcia, but the pinpoint control he wielded against those two disappeared just long enough for Brian Anderson to homer on a hopelessly hung slider. They pulled him with 102 pitches for the start, and for all that Gilbert has given us very little to complain about with his performance this season, that is my smallest of quibbles: He’s throwing a ton of pitches to get through some of these innings. There’s no need to play with your food before eating it, Logan. You’re better than that.
After Gilbert exited, the quartet of Erik Swanson, Andres Muñoz, Drew Steckenrider and Matt Festa harmonized for 3 1⁄3 innings of relatively low-stress relief. And Jesse Winker, in his Weird Winker Way, offered some additional breathing room with a two-run single up the middle that saw him thrown out at second. Despite the truly egregious baseball they’ve played in the last week, the M’s manage to escape Florida without being swept and head to Houston to frolic beneath the Crawford Boxes.
“But Isabelle, wait!” you older siblings might remind me. “Crawford homered too – his fourth of the season. And Winker saged himself after hitting into that first inning double play and had three hits for the day. Swanson continued his scoreless outing streak. Come on, you can’t just focus on the shiny young guys!”
To which I say, it’s Game 22. There’s plenty of time for everyone to have their starring moments, but today belonged to the young’uns. Besides, I know my audience.