Mariners’ Marco Gonzales takes on Tigers
After his impressive return from the injured list last week, Seattle Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales will try to build on that performance Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series in Detroit.
Gonzales was sidelined for five weeks by a left forearm strain. In his return to the rotation, he limited Oakland to one run on two hits while recording six strikeouts in four innings. He was taken out after throwing 50 pitches.
“I thought he was really sharp, command was really good,” manager Scott Servais said. “He used all of his pitches. He got into the curveball later in the outing and he was very efficient with his pitches. So to get four innings out of him, 50 pitches — on a normal night, he probably would’ve gone seven innings in that game, maybe eight. He was going that good.”
It’s likely Gonzales (1-3, 5.01 ERA) will pitch five innings or fewer on Tuesday as the Mariners continue to ease him back into the rotation. He threw 95 or more pitches in four of five starts prior to the injury.
“I was anxious for sure. It’s tough watching,” he said. “Spending a few weeks on the IL can certainly give you some perspective. It was nice to get back out there and compete.”
Gonzales has made four starts against the Tigers during his career, posting a 1-2 record and 2.92 ERA.
He’ll be opposed by left-hander Matthew Boyd, who has struggled in his past four outings. Boyd has given up at least four runs in each of those starts.
His most recent start, at Milwaukee last Tuesday, was especially frustrating. The Tigers scored seven runs in the first three innings, but Boyd (2-6, 3.90 ERA) allowed three home runs in 4 2/3 innings and was pulled before he qualified for the win.
“I think he tried to do a little too much,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He gave up a couple of home runs, but in the end, I just thought he tried to do too much and stopped executing.”
Boyd has made five career appearances against the Mariners, including four starts, going 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA.
The Tigers will be without one of their top relievers for the series. Michael Fulmer was placed on the 10-day IL on Sunday with a right shoulder strain.
Fulmer returned from Tommy John surgery last season and the Tigers don’t want to take any chances with him.
“He has inflammation, which a lot of pitchers do right now. But we’re very cognizant of Fulmer’s injury history and the difficulties from the pandemic year to this year,” Hinch said. “We almost had to react this way to protect him and protect us, just give him a little blow.”
Detroit swept a three-game series in Seattle last month, highlighted by Spencer Turnbull’s no-hitter. The Tigers also swept a three-game home series against the New York Yankees in their last homestand. Their road trip last week didn’t go so well, as they finished 2-4.
The Mariners have also lost four of their past six games but Sunday completed a split of their four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels with a 9-5 victory. Seattle is in the midst of a 10-game road trip.
–Field Level Media