The Seattle Mariners’ franchise record for most consecutive victories is 15, set in 2001 when they tied a Major League Baseball mark by winning 116 games.
Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with the American League West-leading Houston Astros, the current Mariners will look to equal that streak before a sellout crowd in Seattle.
The Mariners have won 22 of their past 25 games to go from 10 games below .500 (29-39) into one of the AL’s three wild-card playoff positions.
So, what changed?
“Nothing,” said Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales, who is scheduled to start Friday. “I’ve been saying the same thing for months. We’re a talented group, we put the work in, we have fun and we take it one day at a time. I’ve been saying the same thing. So nothing’s changed.”
The Mariners have been getting some timely hitting and outstanding pitching.
In the 25-game span, Seattle has the lowest ERA (2.45) in the majors. The starting rotation is 12-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 14 quality starts. Meanwhile, during that same stretch, the bullpen has gone 10-0 with 12 saves and a 1.49 ERA and has allowed opponents to bat just .167.
“We knew we had a good baseball team,” said first baseman Ty France, who, along with Home Run Derby sensation Julio Rodriguez, represented the Mariners earlier this week at the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. “We knew if we continued to prepare the way we always have, it would come together.”
Despite their torrid pace, the Mariners are 10 games behind the Astros in the division race after Houston swept a doubleheader with the visiting New York Yankees on Thursday, winning 3-2 and 7-5.
“This is huge for us to start out 2-0, to take our lead back to double digits,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said after the sweep.
Alex Bregman scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in the opener on J.J. Matijevic’s infield single. Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Chas McCormick homered in the nightcap.
“You want to get off to a good start, and I think everybody came in ready to play,” Bregman said. “This is what we expect out of this ballclub every single night … and hopefully we can continue that for the second half.”
Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy (8-4, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to go up against Gonzales (5-9, 3.50) on Friday night.
Urquidy is 1-3 with a 6.25 ERA in seven career appearances against Seattle, including six starts. All three losses have come this season, as he has failed to pitch more than 4 2/3 innings in any of those defeats, allowing 15 earned runs in 13 innings.
Gonzales is 2-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) against Houston. He’s 1-2 against the Astros this year, but all three of those have been quality starts, with six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs allowed.
“Our turnaround here has been driven by a number of different things,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said, “but I’ve said it from Day 1: Our guys come in and they prepare and they’re ready to compete. I don’t care who’s on the other side coming after us. They’re ready to go.”
–Field Level Media