Well, at least they didn’t get no-hit?
In the search to find positives in the Mariners’ impotent showing at the plate in a 2-0 defeat Tuesday against the Astros, avoiding the additional humiliation of being held without a hit is a bonus.
If you recall, the last time the Mariners were no-hit, it came at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on Aug. 3, 2019.
But if Kyle Seager wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday night, Seattle might have suffered a similar fate.
The veteran third baseman provided the Mariners’ only two hits in the game – a first-inning single and a third-inning double. It was the fourth time the Mariners have been held scoreless this season.
The Mariners (13-11) now have lost three consecutive games for the first time this season. They are now 1-8 in games when they score four runs or fewer as compared to a 12-3 record when they score four or more runs.
Wait, they’ve scored four runs or more in 15 games this season?
It sure doesn’t feel that way, particularly when you look at a team batting average that fell to .210 after the 2-for-27 showing against the Astros. The Mariners and the Yankees have .210 team batting averages with only the Tigers (.208) and Cubs (.206) having worse. And Seattle’s .654 on-base plus slugging percentage is the second worst in all of baseball.
“We struggled to get a ton going tonight,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I thought we did hit some balls really hard tonight. There were about four or five lineouts that needed to go our way and it didn’t happen tonight. It was a tough game, a well-pitched game on both sides. They got a couple more to fall in than we did and that was kind of the story tonight.”
Astros starter Cristian Javier pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just the two hits to Seager with three walks and six strikeouts. And pitchers Brookes Raley and Ryan Pressly each worked scoreless frames to secure the Houston shutout.
Per Statcast, the Mariners did have six balls that were caught that had exit velocities over 95 mph, which is considered a hard hit.
“Our guys were on it better tonight,” Servais said. “The at-bats were much better tonight. We’ll get going. This happens throughout the course of the season. We’re going to have a couple games or small stretches like this. I’m not worried about it at all. Guys are a little frustrated, certainly, when you hit the ball hard. This game is not fair. Oftentimes you don’t get rewarded for those and that happens as part of the game. It’s baseball.”
The lack of offense squandered yet another solid showing for Marco Gonzales. In his past two starts, the Mariners were shut out. Seattle has scored a total of four runs in his last 18 innings.
Gonzales pitched six innings Tuesday, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He cruised through the first two innings in order and worked around a one-out walk for a scoreless third.
“Heck of an outing again by Marco,” Servais said. “He threw the ball just outstanding tonight. You can’t do a whole lot better than that and we got shut out on the other side. So, not a whole lot of run support for Marco the last couple times out there, but he continued to throw the ball great after a couple rocky starts to start the season. He’s back to being Marco Gonzales again.”
In the fourth inning, Michael Brantley led off with a single and Alex Bregman followed with a double to left field against Gonzales. Brantley would later score on a sacrifice fly while Bregman made it 2-0 when he was able get home on Kyle Tucker’s infield single with two outs.
Gonzales dealt with timing issues in his mechanics in his first two starts, but he’s back to a being a strike-throwing machine with precision and command.
“I felt we made some pitches early and we definitely attacked them,” he said. “I’ve figured the timing things out and I’m definitely in a better lane than I had been.”
As for the Mariners losing three games in a row for the first time this season, there is no panic.
“Well, it doesn’t feel like we’ve lost three in a row to be honest,” Gonzales said. “The mood, the energy in this clubhouse is great every day. It’s consistent. Guys put in the work and believe in the process. It’s a long year. You can’t get down about losing a couple in a row. It’s gonna happen.”