Tide delivering AL West? Mariners’ sequence win sends message to Astros

The Houston Astros have been the workforce to beat within the American League West for a very long time.

Well, the Seattle Mariners simply beat ’em.

Brash will get first win as M’s beat Astros 7-2 to take sequence

The Mariners shook off their rocky season-opening street journey to take two of three from their division rivals this weekend, and people two wins featured nearly every little thing this workforce is constructed to do.

Dominant beginning pitching? Got that. A deep lineup that feeds off of baserunners to place collectively rallies? That, too. A lights out bullpen? Not even a query. May as effectively throw in some stellar protection and the occasional opposite-field blast from a right-handed slugger that minimize via the chilly April Seattle air, as effectively.

This could also be a sequence that the Mariners, now 4-4 on the season, look again at and notice is the place the tide turned. The one the place Seattle despatched a message to the division winner in 4 of the final 5 seasons that the AL West title will not undergo Houston.

The Mariners have received some sequence right here and there in opposition to the Astros lately, however not many. And extra importantly, they haven’t received a season sequence over Houston since 2018, and that was the one time they’ve completed so since 2015. Simply put, the Astros have the aggressors as a rule when the groups have met over the previous seven seasons, and the Mariners have been simply attempting to maintain up.

This weekend at T-Mobile Park was a distinct story.


That’s as a result of whereas Seattle outplayed Houston (5-4) in its wins Friday and Sunday, Saturday appeared like a rerun. Justin Verlander, making simply his second begin again from the Tommy John surgical procedure that repaired the torn UCL he suffered on opening day 2020 in opposition to the Mariners, appeared each bit again in Cy Young Award-winning type, placing out eight in eight innings of scoreless, three-hit baseball to lead the Astros to a 4-0 win.

Should that put a damper on the Mariners’ sequence win, although? I don’t assume so. Keep it behind your thoughts, certain, however the truth that the Mariners in any other case smacked round Astros pitching ought to underline how Verlander, who Mariners analyst Ryan Rowland-Smith mentioned is his decide to win the American League Cy Young this 12 months on the postgame present the evening earlier than Saturday’s recreation, is again to his outdated tips.

The different Houston pitchers that Seattle noticed, although, the lineup usually had a solution for.

In Friday evening’s 11-1 win in entrance of a raucous, sold-out crowd, the M’s scored two runs or extra in opposition to every of the 4 Astros pitchers.

New M’s Frazier, Winker, Rodríguez react to “electric” residence environment

On Sunday, a 7-2 victory, the M’s chased starter Jose Urquidy with a five-run fourth inning (they tagged him for six runs complete), then tacked on one other run within the sixth in opposition to reliever Ronel Blanco. Seattle additionally did that with out the presence of cleanup hitter Mitch Haniger, who was positioned on the COVID-19 injured listing Saturday, and with No. 3 hitter Jesse Winker scuffling.

Seattle’s bullpen, in the meantime, was practically untouchable. Houston scratched a lone run throughout in opposition to the Mariners’ relievers over 8 2/3 innings within the sequence, gathering simply six hits and three walks whereas placing out 11 instances. Sunday’s win featured a very irritating run for the Astros’ hitters as Seattle despatched out Paul Sewald, Drew Steckenrider, Andrés Muñoz and Diego Castillo – all right-handers with powerful sliders – in a row in aid of starter Matt Brash – additionally a right-hander with a troublesome slider.

And that brings us to the beginning pitching, which deserves as a lot credit score as something for the tone-setting sequence. And that each one began with Marco Gonzales.

The veteran left-hander hasn’t had a lot success in his profession in opposition to Houston, and clearly that was on his thoughts in the course of the residence opener Friday evening. He tossed seven innings, permitting 4 hits, no walks and a success batter to surrender only one run whereas placing out six to earn the win.

“Getting ahead in the count, throwing five different pitches for strikes and pitching with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” Gonzales mentioned when requested what the important thing for him was after the sport. “These guys smacked me around for a long time. So (it) felt good to stick it to them a little bit.”

Sounds a bit like a microcosm of all the Mariners-Astros rivalry for the previous eight years, doesn’t it?

The Astros aren’t precisely the identical outdated Astros this 12 months. All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa is gone, now a Minnesota Twin. The rotation isn’t what it as soon as was, even with Verlander defying age. Young, unproven gamers are being requested to play main roles this season.

And, effectively, the Mariners aren’t the identical outdated Mariners, both. They haven’t been for some time, but it surely was particularly evident Sunday when Brash, in simply his second begin within the large leagues, perplexed Houston’s lineup for five 1/3 hitless innings earlier than José Altuve singled and Michael Brantley homered, bringing out Mariners supervisor Scott Servais to name for the bullpen.

The 23-year-old Brash, although, was as soon as once more electrical whilst he struggled with command. He walked six and likewise hit a batter, however the Astros couldn’t do a lot once they swung. As a outcome, Brash struck out 5 and acquired Houston to hit into 4 large double performs. All the whereas, the Seattle offense hummed proper alongside, placing up greater than sufficient runs to stroll away with the win.

Kinda felt just like the shoe was on the opposite foot.

Kinda felt like Houston was taking part in the outdated model of itself – the hungry workforce with thrilling younger gamers, breakout candidates and seasoned veterans in key locations.

Kinda felt the tide turning.

I believe the AL West has a combat on its fingers this 12 months.

More Mariners protection from SeattleSports

How GM Jerry Dipoto sees some Nolan Ryan in Logan Gilbert
Dipoto: With Crawford and new personalities, clubhouse “a joy”
Scott Servais: “If it all comes together,” Mariners will likely be “hard to beat”
Aaron Goldsmith: Why Julio Rodríguez’s early struggles aren’t as dangerous as they appear

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