In what was expected to be a somewhat soft road trip, despite the prolonged traveling, the week was anything but soft for the Mariners, who came up with a 2-4 week. After starting off the week hot, they came plummeting to earth when they were north of the border in Toronto.
The injuries continued for the Mariners pitching staff. Hisashi Iwakuma was placed on the 10 day DL with shoulder inflammation, and he is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The Mariners then called up right hander Ryan Weber, who dominated in Tacoma, going 2-0 with an 0.85 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched. He then went on the DL with a bicep strain after lasting just 3.2 innings against the Blue Jays, in which he was effective until the injury, allowing just one run on three hits. Who will now be called up to replace him is unknown.
The M’s swept the Phillies in a two game stand at Citizens Bank Park in which they scored 21 runs in two games. In game one they trailed by four runs two different times in the game after a disastrous start from Ariel Miranda, in which he gave up 8 runs in 3.1 innings. But homers from Cano and Ben Gamel got them back in the game the first time. Later in the game a 6th inning rally which included a pinch-hit single from Nelson Cruz, along with doubles from Gamel in the 7th and Taylor Motter in the 9th secured them a 10-9 win.
In game two the M’s jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr tied it up with a three-run shot. But from then on it was uphill for Seattle. They scored five runs in the 7th and three in the 8th, led by a Carlos Ruiz three-run double against his former team and a homer from Danny Valencia. They would take game two 11-6.
But once they arrived in Toronto they were hit by a tidal wave of problems. The offense went silent, scoring just six runs in the four games, and the pitching staff was being attempted to get glued together by a plethora of Triple A starters. Chase De Jong and Christian Bergman both had rocky starts and Weber got injured in his, with the M’s dropping the first three games by scores of 7-2, 4-0, and 7-2. The one game they had an opportunity to gain some ground was the finale on Sunday afternoon when Ariel Miranda gave the Mariners five strong innings, allowing just one run. The Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead on a 6th inning home run from Justin Smoak (who tortured the Mariners all series as every former Mariners usually does). But Jarrod Dyson tied things up at 2 with a solo shot, in what was his first career home run away from Kauffman Stadium. However, Edwin Diaz once again struggled in a non-save situation, surrendering a walk off home run to centerfielder Kevin Pillar to give the Jays a series sweep.
This was an unbelievably tough weekend to swallow, with the M’s being unable to take a game from a team who has been one of the worst in baseball in the early going of this 2017 season. This upcoming home stand is crucial for the Mariner ballclub. If they want to stay in contention, they at least need to stay afloat. If they tank another week, they could find themselves in a hole that will be incredibly tough to get themselves out of. The A’s will come to town for a three-game sweepstakes before the White Sox come in for a four game weekend series.
MVP: My weekly MVP has to go to the man who makes up half of the Flow Bros in right fielder Ben Gamel. Gamel has been an incredible surprise for a team that is in much need of some production. He has filled in magnificently for the injured Mitch Haniger, hitting .318 on the year. He hit .333 this week along with a homer and 4 RBI’s from the Tuesday game. He will almost undoubtedly stay in the starting lineup when Haniger returns, along with Guillermo Heredia, making an all-rookie outfield with 3 youngsters who are all currently hitting above .300.