The Mariners may be one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball, winning nine of their last 11 games.
But Saturday they could not beat the elements as a contest against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field was suspended in the bottom of the third due to torrential and consistent rain.
“A crazy rain day here,’’ Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The weather in the Midwest is very unpredictable (and) by the lake you never know what can happen.’’
Indeed, the game started after a delay of about an hour and 10 minutes. While the forecasts called for rain throughout the day, Servais said it was felt there was a two-to-three-hour window to try to play the game.
After about an hour, and with the game headed to the bottom of the third, the rain fell hard again. After another wait of more than hour, and with no real letup in sight, the game was finally suspended.
The game will pick up in the bottom of the third Sunday at 11:10 a.m. PDT, which was the original start time for the third and final game of the series. The originally scheduled game will start a half hour or so after the conclusion of the suspended game. The first game will be a full nine innings while the second game will go seven innings.
Once the game ended, Servais started scrambling to figure out how the Mariners will get all the innings thrown on Sunday, especially with the revelation that the intended Sunday starter — Marco Gonzales — has returned to Seattle to be with his wife, who was due to give birth “any minute,’’ Servais said.
Gonzales will be placed on paternity leave, and the Mariners will be able to fill his spot on the roster. They will also be able to add a 27th player to the roster for the second game Sunday.
“We will piece it together,’’ Servais said.
He said the team was leaning toward Hector Santiago starting the suspended game Sunday, hoping he could go up to four innings. Santiago last pitched Wednesday, needing just eight pitches to complete an inning against the Rockies.
But as for the rest, Servais said the team would explore all options.
Among those options are Robert Dugger and Yohan Ramirez, who were scheduled to pitch for Tacoma on Saturday night at Albuquerque but were scratched.
The suspension cost what was looking like another step-in-the-right-direction start for rookie Logan Gilbert.
In his eighth major-league start, Gilbert faced the minimum while striking out three in two innings and throwing 28 pitches. He allowed a bloop single to Jose Abreu leading off the second but induced a double-play grounder from Jake Lamb to end the inning.
Gilbert got two swinging strikeouts in the first inning on 79-mph changeups and another on a 96-mph fastball that he blew past Yasmani Grandal in the second.
“Disappointing for Logan Gilbert,’’ Servais said. “I think he felt, as did we on the bench watching him, that it might have been the best stuff he’s had since he’s been here.’’
After the tarp went on the field to start the bottom of the third, Gilbert retreated inside and kept throwing to stay loose just in case. He said looking at the forecast he didn’t have much hope the game would restart. He said he was told anything longer than an hour or so and his day would be done.
“I felt pretty good,’’ Gilbert said. “I didn’t really get to go to all of my pitches yet throwing two innings. I felt like my fastball was on, my changeup was good. So it felt like it was going pretty well.’’
Even just in two innings, the outing gave proof that Gilbert is quickly evolving into the kind of pitcher the Mariners hoped he could be.
Gilbert has allowed six earned runs in 19 1/3 innings in June, striking out 23 of 76 batters after allowing 11 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings in May when he struck out 16 of 73 batters.
The Mariners were held hitless in their three innings against White Sox starter Lance Lynn, who struck out four.
Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to start the Sunday game for the White Sox. There was speculation that Lucas Giolito, who is scheduled to start for Sox on Monday against Minnesota, could also be used on Sunday. He last pitched on Tuesday, so he would be on regular rest.