With the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers meeting in a three-game series for the second time in as many weeks, there are going to be some familiar matchups.
For instance, the scheduled starting pitchers for Wednesday night’s game in Arlington, Texas — Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales (4-5, 4.35 ERA) and Rangers right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (2-11, 5.66) — faced off last Thursday in Seattle.
It turned into a pitching duel.
Gonzales came out on top, throwing a two-hitter as the Mariners won 3-1. The Rangers’ only run came on a solo homer by Charlie Culberson in the second inning.
Gonzales gave up a single to Jason Martin following Culberson’s homer but was dominant the rest of the way. He faced the minimum three batters in every other inning and tied a career high with nine strikeouts.
The Mariners’ Opening Day starter for the past three years had a forgettable first half of the season, going 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA and spending more than five weeks on the injured list with a left-forearm strain.
“I’ve tried to stay on it the whole time,” Gonzales said, “just balancing a lot of things on and off the field, and I’m just fortunate to keep my head down, and my teammates kept believing in me. Coaches kept believing in me. I knew that once I felt confident and got the ball rolling, I’d be good. And so I just tried to have faith in the work and in the process.”
Gonzales had some additional motivation last week, as his parents were in town to meet their newborn granddaughter, Grace. Gonzales’ father, Frank, is the pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies’ Double-A team, the Hartford (Conn.) Yard Goats.
“I’ve been waiting on this dad strength to come around,” Marco Gonzales said.
In the Rangers-Mariners game on Thursday, Foltynewicz allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. Two of those hits were solo homers, by Jake Fraley and J.P. Crawford.
Foltynewicz has allowed a major-league-high 33 home runs this season.
“I think that’s the best we’ve seen him throw all year, honestly,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Unfortunately the two homers made it not look as good, but seven innings and three runs is plenty to give us a chance to win a game. I thought his stuff had a lot of life to it.”
Woodward seemed dismayed by his offense’s approach against Gonzales.
“It’s just honestly a lack of execution on a pitch that we knew we were getting,” Woodward said. “When it happens over and over again, it’s a little bit frustrating, because it’s not like the guy was throwing 99 mph, where it’s impossible to hit.
“He was giving us a pretty good pitch to hit. We just didn’t do anything with it, and we didn’t hit any balls hard. I don’t know how else to say it. There wasn’t a lack of adjustments. It’s just we just didn’t hit his pitches that we knew were coming.”
Foltynewicz, 29, is 0-5 with a 5.03 ERA in eight career appearances against the Mariners, with three of those losses coming this season. Gonzales is 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 15 career starts against Texas.
–Field Level Media