Celebrating summer with a hot smash at the Padres, the Mariners are perfectly primed to bring the heat into the wild card race

Yesterday was a day known as a holiday of barbecues and explosive pageantry, and yesterday the Mariners didn’t disappoint in hitting that theme. It wasn’t uncommon this season for the Mariners to light up like this on occasion. What is at least moderately rare this year is the repetition of these performances two days in a row. Fear not as they did it today with a stunning 6-2 win for the two game series. It was San Diego’s first series sweep since 2015, and as they outscored the Padres 14-4, it was well done. (Ignore the grill metaphors for this last part, as according to an impromptu poll of LL readership and myself, the clearly superior cook is mediocre rare).

Logan Gilbert had a perfectly acceptable night, allowing two runs, one earned, against six hits, three walks and a batting in 5.1 innings of performance. In a way, he didn’t bring his usual heat. The speed was definitely there, averaging 96.3mph on his fastball and up to 99.3. What wasn’t there were his usual strikeouts, and on his 101 pitches he only made eight puffs in forty-eight swings. However, to give him credit, his location was far from terrible and he received absolutely no calls, which he probably should have been on the edge of the zone. Take that Jake Cronenworth bottom of the third inning, for example.

MLB game day

Without much generosity, this should have been a prank. It came with two outs and had undeniable consequences, as it eventually resulted in Cronenworth scoring later in the inning to end the game 1–1 after a field error by Frazier allowed Hosmer to reach base. No, Gilbert didn’t have his best clothes today. But what’s absolutely refreshing about having LoGi on the Hill is that he’s a fighter, and even when he’s down he’s not out. In the second inning, he worked his way into a bases-loaded jam with no outs, but he kept his head in the game and made playable contact to get all three outs. Great props also go to the defense in these games, which was an important factor in today’s overall victory.

Now to Sam Haggerty of all. The reaction I saw when Haggerty and Dylan Moore both started outfield was a collective sigh of trepidation, but at the end of the day Haggerty and Moore were the team leaders in WPA at .204 and .203, respectively. Sam Haggerty had a career game in particular, playing 3-on-4 with a stolen base, and hitting two runs including a solo shot in the third inning that put the Mariners first on the board.

Here’s his other RBI as he brought home Dylan Moore from second to a single in the fourth inning.

He brought the ham and he brought the boast. He also had some solid defensive plays in left field, flexing his speed and chasing balls down and showing some arm strength for getting balls fast and stopping runners from advancing. He had a defensive faux pas on a play late in the sixth inning and was a TOOTBLAN victim in the top part of the seventh when what should have been an easy out on a bunt instead produced a throwing error then turned into an easy Off on third when he blew past second base.

All in all a solid day from scratch and all mistakes are forgiven. Small sample size, of course, but he’s now averaging .303 and .828 OPS in the season, with a .3 bWAR in thirty-one plate appearances.

However, what made today’s win so enjoyable was that the offense really heats up from the top down of the lineup. Pitching has of course been near elite lately and the bullpen has bounced back nicely after some early issues, but none of that matters if they just can’t get runs. Of course, all eyes have been on Julio Rodríguez lately, who continues to push for Rookie of the Year and I daresay he’s even digging into the MVP talk. Tonight he went 2-for-5 with three strikeouts, hitting once and driving in zero RBIs. Even though he’s “bad,” he’s still good.

But tonight everyone came to the base except Abraham Toro and Eugenio Suárez, it wasn’t just the J-Rod show. JP Crawford, Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty each had two RBIs. Dylan Moore in particular had a 2-for-3 night with a walk and a lone strikeout. JP Crawford’s two runs hit the top of ninth in his second treble of the season.

It was JP’s second consecutive good game after overcoming his suspension, which he said he used as a time to mentally reset himself. What initially seemed like a curse has turned into a blessing, especially when he keeps heating up in the upcoming series against Toronto. Thanks angel!

Speaking of heating up, how about Andrés Muñoz? He hasn’t given up a deserved run in nine appearances since allowing two from Boston on June 10. Today he went 1.2 innings, giving up no hits and a walk while hitting three, including a 102-mph beauty on the edge of the zone to swing Machado and finish the sixth inning with two runners.

With today’s win, the Seattle Mariners finally appear to be doing what they’ve failed to do all season, consistently heating up in all parts to win games decisively. You’re just a game under .500. They have a day off tomorrow and then four home games against Toronto. Four games against a team that is three games ahead of them in the wildcard standings at the time of writing. They’ve been thoroughly peppered with injury worries, roster changes and other pesky inconsistencies. Now that we’re getting closer to the All Star Break, they’re perfectly primed to bring the fizz and finally get this season boiling.

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