Sometimes, learning at the major-league level can be a roller coaster for young pitchers.
For example, take Kansas City Royals left-hander Kris Bubic and Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert, who are scheduled to oppose each other Friday night in Seattle.
Two starts ago against the St. Louis Cardinals, Bubic (4-6, 4.94 ERA) surrendered seven runs on nine hits in 1 1/3 innings.
He bounced back Saturday in Chicago, holding the Cubs hitless for the opening six innings before a 34-minute weather delay in the middle of the seventh halted his momentum.
Bubic issued a walk, and then Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run homer to spoil not only the no-hit bid but the shutout. Bubic still got the victory in a 4-2 decision, allowing just the one hit in 6 1/3 innings with a career-high nine strikeouts.
“That’s just a shame that he wasn’t able to keep rolling there; I’ve never seen anything like that (delay),” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s an embarrassment, I think … to have something as special going on as what we were witnessing right there. You pull us off that field, that rain better hit us or something better happen worse than what (did) happen.”
Bubic attributed the strong start to the rhythm he had with catcher Cam Gallagher, who got the start because Salvador Perez was sidelined with a headache.
“We didn’t shake off once and kept rolling right on through, and anything he was putting down, I was throwing,” Bubic said.
Despite not playing, Perez imparted some advice to Bubic, telling him to think outside the box.
“Seriously, he likes to throw strikes,” Perez said. “He likes to throw too many strikes; sometimes in the big leagues that doesn’t work. You need to throw some balls.”
Bubic will face the Mariners for the first time in his career.
After losing his first two starts, Gilbert (5-5, 5.16) went 5-0 over his next 11, with the Mariners winning each time he took the mound.
But he’s 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA in four starts in August, including a 15-1 defeat in Houston his last time out Saturday. Gilbert gave up nine runs on eight hits — including two homers — in 4 2/3 innings.
“They capitalized on mistakes,” he said. “And it’s a fine line between making good pitches in the zone but not leaving it over the plate. And when it does happen, they make you pay.”
Mariners manager Scott Servais said he made sure to offer a few words of encouragement before Gilbert went to the showers.
“Logan is learning,” Servais said. “We all like his talent. But I really like his makeup. And that is going to serve him well through the course of his career when he does get the consistency going and when he understands the league a little bit better and gets a ton of experience, which is going to happen. He’s going to have a really bright future ahead of him.”
Gilbert will test his mettle against the Royals for the first time his young career.
Kansas City posted a 6-4 win in the series opener Thursday behind Perez’s fourth career grand slam and right-hander Ervin Santana’s first victory since 2017.
“I hit it pretty good,” Perez said of his slam. “Sometimes you hit the ball hard and you know it’s a homer.”
–Field Level Media