What to remember from the Seattle Mariners: a historic weekend to start the rotation

The Seattle Mariners brought out the brooms this weekend.

After winning three of four games against the Houston Astros earlier in the week, Seattle completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday to go a record seven games above .500. In the process, the Mariners’ starting rotation accomplished a bit of franchise history and their sputtering offense put together perhaps its best run of the season. Seattle has won seven of its last eight games and remains atop the AL West at 34-27, holding a four-game lead over the Texas Rangers and a 7.5-game advantage over the Astros.

Here are three observations about the Mariners following their second sweep of the season.

The start of the rotation reaches a new historic milestone

Earlier this season, Seattle’s starting rotation went on a historic streak of 21 consecutive starts with two or fewer earned runs allowed. It was the second-longest such streak in MLB history and the longest since the 1915 Washington Senators. This weekend, the Mariners rotation accomplished another piece of history. Seattle starters Bryan Woo, Bryce Miller and Luis Castillo combined to pitch 19 scoreless innings, which marked the first time in franchise history that Mariners starters did not allow a run in a series. more than three matches.

Woo started with six scoreless innings in Friday’s 5-4 win. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just three hits and no walks during an efficient 66-pitch outing, after skipping his midweek bullpen session due to what manager Scott Servais called it “arm stuff.” After starting the season on the injured list with elbow inflammation, Woo has been out since returning to the rotation. He has a 1.30 ERA and 0.58 WHIP in five starts, with 18 strikeouts and just two walks.

Miller followed with six scoreless innings in Saturday’s 9-0 rout. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out nine of the 21 batters he faced, while allowing just three hits and one walk. After a brilliant start to the season, Miller hit a rough patch in May, allowing 15 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings over his first four starts of the month. But he seems to have regained his early success, allowing just two runs in 12 innings over his last two starts.

Castillo finished the weekend with seven shutout innings on two hits in Sunday’s 5-1 victory. Despite not having his best stuff, the 31-year-old ace struck out six batters and generated 21 whiffs, 13 of which came with his four-seam fastball. Castillo got off to an unusually rough start this year, allowing four earned runs in each of his first three outings. But since then, he has always displayed an attitude worthy of his nickname: “The Rock”. Castillo has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 10 straight starts, while recording a 2.01 ERA and 0.97 WHIP during that stretch.

“Every day when I come to the stadium I feel like we’re going to win,” Servais said. “Our starting pitch will give us a chance. They’re going to keep us in the game. Everyone in this room knows we’ll have a chance to win every day.

Offense benefiting from a more “aggressive” approach

After a difficult first two months of the season at the plate, Seattle parted ways with offensive coordinator and bench coach Brant Brown on Friday. At this point, the Mariners were averaging just 3.6 runs per game, which ranked them 29th out of 30 MLB teams. Despite winning three of the Astros’ four games earlier in the week, the offensive struggles were glaring, as Seattle only tallied a total of nine runs in the four-game set.

During the weekend series against the Angels, Servais said the emphasis was on “freeing things up” for hitters and encouraging them to be more aggressive at the plate. It was only one series, and it came against an Angels pitching staff that is among the worst in baseball, but the Mariners responded with perhaps their best three-game offensive streak in the season. Seattle totaled 19 points against the Angels and scored at least five points in three straight games for the first time all season.

“We’re just freeing things up,” Servais said after Saturday’s game. “This is a point that has been highlighted here in recent days. Let’s release these players and really focus on what they do well and play to their strengths. …Whatever it is that you’re doing that got you to the big leagues and being successful at that level, let’s get back to that and (be) less concerned about maybe what they throw at us or how they throw at us . and things like that.”

JP Crawford had the highlight moment of the weekend, hitting a grand slam to open the floodgates in Saturday’s rout. But many others have also contributed. Ty France had a three-hit game Friday, including a two-run double and the clinching solo home run in the eighth inning. Luke Raley homered in back-to-back games, with solo shots Saturday and Sunday. Julio Rodríguez had a three-hit game on Saturday. And Mitch Garver ended an 0-for-20 slump with two hits Sunday, including a three-run double that led the way.

“I think we are more aggressive,” Servais said after Sunday’s game. “Looks like we’re attacking baseball. We’re not that defensive at the plate. That’s what sets me apart. … I think up and down the roster, guys are just more on offense – (looking) to be a hunter rather than the hunted.

Well-deserved day of rest before another long period

With their sweep of the Angels, the Mariners completed a 17-game season without a day off. Seattle went 10-7 in that span, rebounding from a 4-6 East Coast road trip with a 6-1 homestand last week. But after a day off Monday, the Mariners begin another long streak of 13 straight games without a day off. By the time they conclude this streak on June 16, they will have played 43 games in 45 days.

One of the major issues over the next two weeks will be whether Seattle’s bullpen can continue to hold up. The Mariners’ injury-depleted bullpen suffered another blow over the weekend when left-handed reliever Gabe Speier landed on the 15-day injured list with a strained wrist. left rotator cuff. Seattle has already gone the entire season without two of its top relievers, with Matt Brash out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Gregory Santos sidelined with a side strain until July at less. Left-handed reliever Tayler Saucedo also missed three weeks with a hyperextended knee before returning last Tuesday.

Aside from a tough stretch against the mighty Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees on their last road trip, the Mariners bullpen performed remarkably well despite all the injuries. Before Sunday, Seattle’s bullpen ranked third in the majors in WHIP (1.14), fifth in opponents’ batting average (.214) and 11th in ERA (3.66). But with another reliever on the IL and another long streak, the Mariners and their bullpen face another tough stretch.

“It’s really hard,” Servais said of playing 17 days in a row. “…We’re not done yet. We have a day off tomorrow. We’ll hop on a plane later tomorrow afternoon, but we have to keep working. We have to keep doing this. It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint.

More Seattle Mariners coverage

• Mariners shortstop JP Crawford’s stats lead the MLB since the start of 2023.
• Ryan Bliss is living a “dream” 10 years after his tweet about the Mariners
• Why the Seattle Mariners parted ways with offensive coordinator Brant Brown
• The Seattle Mariners general manager takes us through the MLB trade market and its expectations.
• Seattle Mariners send key replacement to Illinois, recalls RHP Collin Snider

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