Mariner Monday: Julio Rodriguez Hits First HR and Logan Gilbert Continues Early Season Dominance

It wasn’t necessarily a great week for the Mariners. They lost four of their six games even though they outscored their opponents 25-23 on the week. But that’s baseball for you. The bright side is that the bad week shouldn’t lead to too much concern considering they are still 12-10 and find themselves in a wild card position (I know it’s early but just let me have this).

There is also no reason to feel down about the week because we witnessed what we hope will be the first of many: a Julio Rodriguez home run. I would have taken an 0-6 week with one run scored if it might finally getting to see Rodriguez hit one out. Although it took a while, the bomb that he delivered was worth the wait.

Rodriguez hit a three-run shot on Sunday that flew a projected 450 feet. This was not a ball that caught some lucky wind and scraped over the wall, this was an absolute blast. Hitting his first dinger of the season should help ease the rookie’s nerves (if he has any). This should lead to more to come as he continues to hit for more power.

The home run was the perfect way to cap off Julio’s best week in the majors. He went .333 with seven hits and added three stolen bases. The frustrations with his strikeouts still exist (five last week) but the team is working to try to fix that.

Scott Servais got ejected in his first game back from an absence due to COVID when he objected to another bad strike call on Rodriguez. He said he watched on TV as the young player get wrung up on pitches outside the zone and was annoyed by it. He also mentioned that the team would be filing an appeal with the league about the way umpires are squeezing the rookie.

Rodriguez stole the headlines this week with his first career blast, but J.P. Crawford was the star of the show on offense. He continued his incredibly hot start by batting .417 with two home runs and two doubles for the week. He is playing like one of the best shortstops in the league right now and has certainly picked up the slack with one of the Mariners’ best players sidelined.

Mitch Haniger missed two weeks while on the COVID list but was finally able to return this week. Unfortunately, in his first game back on Friday, he exited with an apparent ankle injury. He recorded just one at-bat in the game, which he turned into a base hit, before having to leave the game. This is not great news for a team that would love to have their leader back on the field and producing the way he did last year. Hopefully, it is just a short absence for Haniger before he can return and get back to mashing balls.

Seattle’s pitching performed pretty well for a team that lost four games on the week. But when three of those losses are to a team that scores three runs or less, pitching is not the problem.

Logan Gilbert continued his excellent start to the season. He pitched in both of the team’s wins, earning the decision each time, and let up just one earned run in 11-and-one-third innings. The only unfortunate thing about his week was that he gave up his second earned run of the season, his first since April ninth, when he gave up a solo homer run on Sunday. He nearly doubled his ERA at that point, which is now at a miserable 0.64 on the season. Gilbert has fully broken out in his second year in the majors and will be one of the best pitchers in the MLB if he keeps this up.

Chris Flexen had the best outing of the week, although he took the loss after going six-and-two-thirds innings and giving up two earned runs. Robbie Ray also got a loss this week following his outing of five innings, eight strikeouts, and three earned runs on four hits. Both players have been pitching well and would have had much better weeks had the offense provided them some run support.

The lowlight of the week was certainly a pair of lackluster starts from Marco Gonzales and Matt Brash. Gonzales left his start with an injury after allowing one earned run and recording just one out. Brash gave up six earned runs in two innings in what was the worst start of his young career. Gonzales will hope that his injury doesn’t lead to anything major and too much time missed and Brash will have to demonstrate the mental fortitude that it takes to bounce back from a disappointing start.

This wasn’t a great week for the Mariners but it also wasn’t terrible. There were positives to take away from the week that can hopefully lead to improvement in the next coming weeks. Crawford and Gilbert are performing like legitimate stars while Rodriguez and Brash are taking their lumps and staying tough. If more players start to come around and perform up to their potential then Seattle will have a pretty good team.