Mariners mauled by Cubs at Wrigley
Justus Sheffield pitched out of trouble in five consecutive innings, laboring on Labor Day
September 4, 2019
Though it still feels a bit weird to say, the Chicago Cubs are a very good team. Meanwhile, as we are completely accustomed to saying, the Seattle Mariners are . . . not. So it's not surprising that the Cubs swept the M's in their brief two-game set at Wrigley Field.
Despite being outscored by Chicago 11-2, the games were not without their bright spots. In Monday's afternoon contest, rookie Justus Sheffield pitched five scoreless innings in his third big-league start and did it in interesting fashion—in each of his five innings, he escaped trouble with runners in scoring position, three times via strikeout. The wildness didn't inspire any confidence, but keeping in mind his inexperience and new-big-leaguer-nerves, his grit in getting out of all the trouble he put himself in did. He's going to be interesting to watch every five days for the duration. Also, infielders Dylan Moore and Dee Gordon performed well at bat, on the basepaths, and in the field; between them they notched six hits, scored both runs, and stole three bases.
Otherwise, though, these were just sad affairs. The Cubs belted extra-base hits galore and pitched extremely well, with Jon Lester following up his seven shutout innings against the M's in Seattle back in May by throwing six more shutout innings against them at Wrigley. Kyle Hendricks got a no-decision on Monday, but still had a brilliant start and the Chicago ’pen showed no weaknesses. The Mariners' pitching other than Sheffield was unimpressive, with only Reggie McClain, Zac Grotz, and Brandon Brennan unblemished by their outings.
These being the first games of September, the M's trotted out a number of new callups/injury returnees: Braden Bishop started both games (2-for-7, 3 Ks), Shed Long pinch-hit (0-for-1), Ryan Court pinch-hit Monday and started Tuesday (1-for-5, 4 Ks), and Brennan and Grotz each pitched a clean inning. It's the last time the September callup phenomenon will look like this, at least until the next time MLB changes its rules, as starting next year only two additional players will be allowed on the roster instead of the customary limit of 15.
Next, the Mariners embark on the last leg of this inefficient road trip by returning to the state of Texas to take on the Houston Astros for four games after a day off. (The Astros are better than the Cubs, so buckle up.)
Mariners vs. Cubs, by the numbers
- Total runs scored: 13 (SEA 2, CHC 11)
- Home runs hit: 3 (SEA 0, CHC 3)
- Bases stolen/attempts: 5/6 (SEA 3 - Gordon, Moore 2; CHC 2)
- Errors committed: 2 (SEA 2 - Fraley, Moore)
- Quality starts: 2 (CHC 2 - Hendricks, Lester)
- Pitching changes: 14 (SEA 7, CHC 7)
- Starters ERA (includes “openers”): 1.35 (SEA 2.25, CHC 0.75)
- Bullpen ERA (includes “headliners”): 6.00 (SEA 10.13, CHC 1.29)
- Runners left on base: 30 (SEA 15, CHC 15)
Of the Mariners recently promoted from the minors, who are you most interested in seeing play?