Reviewing the Series: #11 Seattle Mariners
It’s easy to get frustrated when you go from sweeping a team to getting swept. You go from a pretty good high, right back into the basement as the Rays end up splitting their first West Coast swing after getting off to such a pleasant start. It seems that missed opportunities like these always come back to haunt the team, which should always be striving to win every series. Win every home stand. Win every road trip. Taking one of three from the Mariners would have led to a pretty successful road trip that would have left the team tied for third and within spitting distance of the wild card. C’est la vie when you’re a team that thoroughly plays down to mediocre every chance they get. The Rays now have a record of 4-5-2 in series on the year. Hard to make the playoffs when you’re not consistently taking two of three from your opponents. Let’s see how it all went wrong:
The first two games saw Tampa Bay get pretty roundly whipped. The offense picked up gradually each day to get to a pretty high level in the fourth game where they ran into a bad patch of cluster luck to earn the loss. It didn’t have to be like this. You can see that the matchup tool likes the Rays slightly better in each game, and it did a pretty good job of projecting what the Rays would do with the bats. Unfortunately, the Mariners drastically outhit their expectations. They scored better than six runs more than the tool thought they oughta, and it wasn’t just one game that stood out as each saw them outhit expectations. The Rays went from a reasonably strong 55% to win the series to not even taking a game. Kudos to the Mariners offense that did what they had to when they needed to.
Let’s start with the Seattle bats that proved to be the difference this series. You can see an outstanding series for Ketel Marte and Lee’s power was a difference maker more than once. Additionally, you see guys doing well to pitch in a little here and there, but you don’t see the huge anchor dragging them down. Sure, Seager had a poor series and saw a ton of plate appearances, but other than that you have your glove first centerfielder, a utility man that saw three plate appearances, and I guess Cano had a poor series, but nothing like we’re used to seeing from Logan Morrison or Desmond Jennings.
On the pitching side you can see that their best pitchers were all pen arms. Former Ray Mike Montgomery came into during the height of a storm, but was able to calm the waters and then get their wounded vessel back into port. He soaked up a ton of important outs against a Rays lineup that had just scorched their starter. Cishek was unhittable while seeing steady action and you can say the same about Peralta, more or less. King Felix, Taijuan Walker and Wade Miley weren’t particularly good, but they kept their team in the game and weren’t abysmal. Here’s the Rays:
The Tampa Bay Rays will go as far as their pitching takes them. This has been the modus operandi for the team for going on a decade. For the first time in a while the pitching was not good enough and cost them a series. Smyly has been so good, and yet he got bombed atomically. With or without Socrates philosophies seems beside the point, but ponder as you will. Moore and Archer have been more inconsistent this year with more poor starts than good ones to this point. You cannot file these into the latter. These were poor starts that saw the team behind early and often. This put even more pressure on a bullpen that has gone from top-heavy to on the verge of capsizing.
Enny Romero was very good again. He went through that rough patch, but other than that stretch he has been very tough to reach base against, let alone hit something with power. The Rays also leaned heavily upon Alex Colome who gave them a solid two-inning relief appearance after seeing action in all three games of the past series. His ability to get six outs makes him a very good option, unfortunately we only have one of him. Ryan Webb wasn’t bad and should retain his position once Boxberger gets back as a low to no leverage guy that can soak it up. Erasmo was about what you would expect, but it’s really tough to offset the damage that can be done against the Cedenos, Evelands and Geltzes of the world.
The offensive side saw some great stories to talk about. Steve Pearce had a ridiculous series and Brandon Guyer nearly matched him as he alternated getting hits and getting hit. Then we take a step down to Longo and then another big one down to the rest of the team. Losing Logan Forsythe for most of the series was a real blow. Getting him back soon and at full capability will be enormous for this team as Logan is the glue that holds everything together on both sides of the chalk. Big Swingin’ Dickerson and LoMo were around what you would have expected, but then you get down to the bottom where you see why the team lost.
Getting almost no production from basically three entire lineups slots each game of the series made it really tough for this offense to tack on when needed. Souza and Kiermaier play every single day getting a ton of opportunity to impact the game. Unfortunately, they didn’t come through very often in this one. Hopefully this is just a blip and they both go back to being very good hitters that give the team a deep lineup that can hurt you all over. Without some no doubt, superstar stud hitter this lineup cannot afford to punt on positions. The team will need to get production up and down the lineup if it hopes to right the ship.