The really good news is that the Mariners took the first game of the series against the Braves in Atlanta. What that means is continuing on in the wild card race and whether they win the remaining two in the series or not at least they have taken care of the first important game. I think it is always important to when the first game.
The Mariners scored first in the game going ahead 1-0 in the top of the second however the Braves responded by scoring two runs in the second that included a home run by catcher Suzuki. This is a guy I have wished that the Mariners could have acquired after he left playing for the Oakland A’s. He would be fine fit playing a couple times a week at catcher for the Mariners along with pinch hitting role. He could have been the regular catcher when Mike Zunino was struggling and spent parts of two seasons at triple A. It is not always easy to find a good catcher these days but when one is available to go out and snatch him.
The Mariners came back and tied the score in the third inning at 2.-2 and then scored three runs in the fourth inning. It included a hit and an rbi by Mariner starter Andrew Albers. It was his first in the major league for both. Yonder Alonso had his best game as a Mariner hitting two doubles and driving in three runs including in the fourth inning. The Mariners scored their final run in the top of the six to make it a 6-2 lead however the Braves made it interesting scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the final score 6-5. The Mariners bullpen especially Nick Vincent who got the final out in the seventh inning was able to get through the eighth without giving up a hit as well. He actually only threw seven pitches to record the four outs so he should be available again on Tuesday. Edwin Diaz recorded his twenty-eighth save pitching the ninth inning to preserve the win. He did give up one hit but otherwise pitched well.
Marco Gonzales will make the start for the Mariners in the middle game of the series on Tuesday. The importance for the Mariners is hoping that he will be able to get through five innings with the Mariners leading in the game. He faces Lucas Sims for the Braves who has started and pitched in four games for them. He has a record of 1-3 with an era of 5.24. Also he has given up four home runs in those games so the Mariners have a good chance to score some runs off of him however as we know this doesn’t always work for the Mariners offense. Only on Sunday they scored no runs against Seattle native Blake Snell for the Tampa Bay Rays. We hope that the Mariners will have more success against Sims.
With Gonzales starting for the Mariners we could see long reliever Casey Lawrence along with lefty James Pazos pitching multiple innings in relief. In pitching news Dave Phelps pitched a simulated game on Monday and could be activated on Wednesday or over the weekend against the Yankees. Also Iwakuma has done a little throwing to see how his shoulder is going. Not sure whether he will be back soon or at all this season. The Mariners are expecting Felix Hernandez and James Paxton to start throwing this week as well. Most likely they may return early September. This will be good news for the rotation along with the bullpen. Right now the important thing is that the starters will go at least five innings and hopefully six or seven to keep the bullpen rested as possible. The Mariners will likely make at least a few moves in the bullpen before the September roster call ups happen.
I don’t expect that the Mariners will acquire another player however with Dipoto we can never say never; he does make a move most likely a pitcher and could be someone for the bullpen. In the meantime we enjoy the rest of this road trip.