M's swept by Evil Empire
Yusei Kikuchi was bested by his countryman Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday night
August 29, 2019
In three games against the New York Yankees, the Mariners were hopelessly outmatched and lost all three contests. Pitchers Tommy Milone, Yusei Kikuchi, and Justus Sheffield each served up five earned runs to the New Yorkers in their starts (or "headline game" in Milone's case), while the Yankees' starters were much sharper.
Monday night's game was the only one the M's really had a shot in. New York starter J.A. Happ was better than expected, but still left after five innings up by a mere two runs. Seattle's penchant for striking out rather than advancing runners contributed to the loss, as twice there were opportunities to manufacture a run that instead went the way of the K. All of Seattle's runs scored on the longball in this one, three on a Dylan Moore shot to center field in the second inning and the other on a solo blast from Mallex Smith in the seventh to cap the scoring at 5-4 Yankees.
Tuesday looked bleak from very early on, as New York starter Masahiro Tanaka was at his very best while Seattle's Yusei Kikuchi was not. Kikuchi struggled to pitch effectively and only made it through four frames; he gave up a pair of monster home runs, to Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner, accounting for all five runs plated off of him. Meanwhile, Tanaka held the M's hitless until the fifth, when Kyle Seager led off with a double to the right-field line. Already down 6-0, no effort was made to advance Seager and the next two batters struck out. Reggie McClain took the hill in relief of Kikuchi and was terrific, striking out four in two innings, and Erik Swanson likewise pitched well in his scoreless frame. Rookie Taylor Guilbeau didn't fare as well, allowing an unearned run due to his own error, two walks, and a hit batter in the ninth. In the end it was 7-0 New York, with the M's reaching base only five times in the game. McClain's and Swanson's efforts were notable and should help them in the real goal for the relief corps, which is to suss out who has the chops to make the 'pen next season.
Wednesday afternoon featured a matchup of James Paxton and Sheffield, pitchers that were essentially traded for each other in the offseason. Big Maple won the day, which wasn't surprising. We all know what Pax can do and we've seen Sheffield struggle in his early big-league career. Sheffield was less rocky than in his previous start (which was his first in the Majors), but still got the hook after just 41⁄3 innings. He allowed two more Yankee homers—they now have a record 69 home runs in the month of August—and his immediate relief, Matt Wisler, served up another to Judge to make it 6-2 Yankees in the fifth. Seattle's two runs came on a Kyle Seager home run the precious inning as Seager extended his hot streak. Wade LeBlanc came in to finish the game in relief and gave up a homer of his own (to D.J. LeMahieu) and by the end of the ninth the Yankees had taken it 7-3 and completed their sweep.
There's little in the way of silver linings to take from this series; aside from McClain and Swanson impressing in their roles—McClain in long relief, Swanson in short bursts—and Seager's continued hitting, the only notable might be Dylan Moore's competent play in right field as he keeps getting tried in new positions in hopes of being the next Mark McLemore.
The Mariners are on the road again, beginning a ten-game road trip with four in Dallas-Ft. Worth against the Rangers. Felix Hernández will be on the mound tomorrow evening in Texas.
Mariners vs. Yankees, by the numbers
- Total runs scored: 26 (SEA 7, NYY 19)
- Home runs hit: 12 (SEA 3, NYY 9)
- Bases stolen/attempts: 2/4 (NYY 2)
- Errors committed: 2 (SEA 1 - Guilbeau, NYY 1)
- Quality starts: 1 (NYY 1 - Tanaka)
- Pitching changes: 17 (SEA 9, NYY 8)
- Starters ERA (includes “openers”): 5.13 (SEA 9.64, NYY 2.65)
- Bullpen ERA (includes “headliners”): 3.25 (SEA 4.08, NYY 1.80)
- Runners left on base: 35 (SEA 13, NYY 22)