Coming into this series, the Seattle Mariners as a team were hitting 169 wRC+. Just for perspective, that’s 69% better than league average, and 43 points higher than the 1927 New York Yankees. They were leading the league in just about every meaningful batting statistic.
Then they had to face Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Last night Justin Verlander held these erstwhile West Coast Bombers from the city Boeing built to one run on two hits with 11 strikeouts. Today #2 in the Astros’ 1-2 knockout punch, Gerrit Cole, held the Seattle Boys to a similar level of ineptitude: two runs on four hits with 11 strikeouts. Neither pitcher walked a batter. The Astros’ bullpen pitched three scoreless innings in both games to seal the victories, Roberto Osuna saving all three games in the sweep of the Mariners in this series.
Here’s a few looks at Cole’s stuff today.
Gerrit Cole, Wicked 87mph Back Foot Slider. pic.twitter.com/OsBJIYst3d— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 14, 2019
Gerrit Cole, Filthy 86mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/tcDIF3yCjL— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 14, 2019
Are Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna both heading to the All-Star game? Between them they have pitched 13 innings and allowed only one run.
It would have been even nastier for the Mariners this weekend if not for Astros killer Mitch Haniger. Haniger last year punished the Astros with a 144 wRC+. In this series he was 5-13, with two home runs and two doubles, including his lead off home run against Cole today. In the third he doubled against Cole, and scored the only other Mariners run following a Domingo Santana double.
The Astros hitters found the going a little tough themselves against Mariners starter Marco Gonzales, who kept the Astros hitters off balance much of the day, holding them to two runs in 5.1 innings. The Astros’ first run came in the sixth after singles by Tony Kemp, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman, followed by the killer two run RBI single by new Astro Michael Brantley, which chased Gonzales and tied the game at 2.
In the seventh inning, another new Astro, Aledmys Diaz, whom many fans wanted optioned after his rocky first week of the season, hit the game winner, a solo line drive home run just inches over the left field wall. Since starting the season 0-9, Diaz has gone 5-14 with two crucial home runs in tight games.
Hector Rondon, Ryan Pressly, and Roberto Osuna pitched perfect seventh, eighth and ninth innings respectively, Osuna finishing the game on a strikeout against Daniel Vogelbach looking on a 3-2 count.
The Mariners now lead the Astros for first place in the AL West by only one game after starting the series four games up. The two teams are even in the loss column.
The Astros are off tomorrow (Monday) and resume play for a two game series with the Athletics in Oakland on Tuesday.
Go Stros. Hottest team in baseball.
Box score and videos HERE.
Are Ryan Pressly and/or Roberto Osuna going to the All Star game?
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