Mon, 02 Aug 2021

Mariners aim for two-game sweep in Colorado

Field Level Media
21 Jul 2021, 16:55 GMT+10

Scott Servais manages in the American League, but he spent his entire playing career in the National League.

For most of those 10-plus seasons as a catcher, the current Seattle Mariners manager visited the thin air in Colorado yearly, so when he gives advice to his pitchers, it comes from practical experience.

The Mariners beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Tuesday night, and the teams wrap up their two-game series Wednesday afternoon.

Right-hander Keynan Middleton (0-0, 3.75 ERA) will make the first start of his major league career Wednesday while serving as Seattle's opener. Colorado will activate left-hander Austin Gomber (6-5, 3.68 ERA) from the injured list to make the start.

The Mariners won Tuesday the strength of a four-run sixth inning. Rookie catcher Cal Raleigh collected his first two career hits, including a sixth-inning double that gave him his first two RBIs.

Raleigh was 0-for-12 through three major league games before finishing 2-for-3 on Tuesday.

"I wasn't really going to panic," Raleigh said. "I guess that's the worst thing you could do. I'd be lying to you if I told you I wasn't thinking about it or it wasn't on my mind, but I knew it was going to come. I had hit some balls hard. Luckily, I got one to drop in."

Servais said of the win, "A nice ballgame to start the series, and hopefully we can wrap up a very successful road trip (Wednesday)."

That effort will begin with Middleton, whose 128 big-league appearances have all come out of the bullpen. He has four saves this year, and he has allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings over his past five outings. He will be opposing the Rockies for the first time.

Gomber has been sidelined since June 20 due to left forearm tightness. He has been building up his stamina on a minor league rehab stint, throwing 62 pitches in his latest outing.

Rockies bench coach/acting manager Mike Redmond said Tuesday that he would monitor Gomber throughout the game to decide how long to keep him on the mound.

"If he's pitching well, we can probably push him a little more than 62 pitches, depending on the game," Redmond said. "We'll monitor that, but he's feeling good, he's feeling confident, he's ready to go, and it'll be nice to see him back on the mound."

Gomber has pitched well since having a rough beginning of the season. He was 4-1 in his past five starts before leaving his latest outing after just two innings. He has yet to face the Mariners in his major league career.

Gomber has amassed some experience pitching in altitude since coming to the Rockies in the offseason from the St. Louis Cardinals, but not many Seattle pitchers have. Tuesday's starter, Marco Gonzalez, grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., and could offer some hints, but Servais had some solid advice for his staff entering the two-game series.

His words weren't intended to inspire fear, but rather assurance.

"I don't think it's a good thing to put all your pitchers in a room and say, 'Now you're pitching at Coors Field. Make sure you don't do this, don't do that, don't do this.' It doesn't work," Servais said before Tuesday's game. "The one thing you can't do here at Coors Field, you can't walk people. You guys stay aggressive. You're going to give up hits. It's the biggest outfield in the league, there's a lot of green grass, but it really gets magnified when you start walking guys."

Seattle pitchers walked four on Tuesday, as did Colorado pitchers.

--Field Level Media

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