Seattle Mariners

Young, rebuilding (tanking?) White Sox? They rolled past the Mariners. Three takeaways

Chicago White Sox's Nicky Delmonico scores on a wild pitch from Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake (8) during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 23, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago White Sox's Nicky Delmonico scores on a wild pitch from Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake (8) during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 23, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

This got ugly.

And, no, not for the team that entered the day tied with the Reds for the fewest wins in baseball.

In short, the Seattle Mariners have been starved of starting pitching for three consecutive games now.

Mike Leake had his roughest start with the Mariners to date, with this young Chicago White Sox lineup hacking early in the count and feasting on pitches in the upper middle portion of the plate.

The Mariners lost, 10-4.

Leake exited after 3 1/3 innings, having allowed eight earned runs and tied for a career-high with 12 hits allowed. It was the shortest of his 10 starts with the Mariners dating back to last year.

"They were aggressive today," Leake told reporters afterward. "And I was giving them too many pitches to hit in the middle of the plate. I kept trying to make adjustments down and off the plate. Some games are going to be like that."

And the White Sox didn’t just hit him. They hit him hard.

Joan Moncada, Chicago’s prized acquisition after trading pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox, was a single short of the cycle – and it was still the top of the fourth inning.

Jose Abreu hit two home runs – though, to Leake’s credit, only one of those was against him.

A team that scored two runs in three games against the Astros went off for 10 in one game against the Mariners. And the White Sox snapped their seven-game losing skid.

But the Mariners (11-10) can take solace in being able to flush this game without much residual effect, thanks to Wade LeBlanc giving them 4 2/3 innings of relief after Leake was pulled.

"Wade LeBlanc was awesome. I can't say enough," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "The tank was realy empty for him at the end and I asked if he could give us one more inning and he did. I really appreciate his effort and how he went about things tonight."

LeBlanc allowed two runs over that span and bridged the rest of the game without further taxing the Mariners’ already fatigued bullpen. Erasmo Ramirez only lasted 4 2/3 innings against the Rangers on Sunday (allowing five runs) and James Paxton went four innings (allowing five six runs) in four innings on Saturday.

But you knew it was ugly when the only out of the first seven batters Leake faced was him picking off Avisail Garcia at first base. Or when the White Sox (5-14) picked up their second triple in two innings because left fielder Ben Gamel and center fielder Dee Gordon were chasing around ball like it was being pulled by an invisible string.

Or in the seventh inning, when the Mariners were seeming to put together some sort of rally after Mitch Haniger’s home run and back-to-back hits from Daniel Vogelbach and Mike Zunino.

Except Zunino took off for second when a pitch bounced past White Sox catcher Welington Castillo (a former Mariner). But it quickly ricocheted off the backstop and Vogelbach stood pat at second.

So Zunino was caught in a rundown. Vogelbach then took off.

Soon after, both were standing on second base. And both were called out for the conventional 2-3-5-6 double play.

But, hey, Moncada never did get that cycle.

And Zunino got his first hit in his 11th at-bat of the season – a two-run home run, while Haniger pushed his home-run streak to four consecutive games.

A few takeaways:

Mariners_White Sox3.jpg
Chicago White Sox's Jose Abreu hits a home run off Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Wade LeBlanc during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 23, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WHAT HA-HAPPENED?: The umpires said Daniel Vogelbach and Mike Zunino were both standing on second base at the same time in the seventh inning.

So instead of two runners on with one out and maybe some sort of rally to put together, the inning ended with Scott Servais stomping in and out of the dugout.

So what was the ruling?

It appeared they said that since both were on base at the same time, the lead runner is out. In this case it would have been Zunino.

But Vogelbach was the first to be tagged, and with his head down he stepped off the base back toward the Mariners dugout and he was quickly tagged again.

So Zunino was automatically out and since Vogelbach stepped off and was tagged, voila, he was out, too.

"We screwed that one up," Servais said. "That shouldn't happen. Both players should keep their foot on the base and let the umpire determine which one is out and then go from there."

Zunino was holding up at second trying to ask the umpire who was out.

"It's one of those situations where I don't know if anybody really definitively knows the rule with that stuff," Zunino said.

And it came after Jean Segura was caught in a rundown in the first inning after his double. The Mariners certainly aren't known for upstanding base-running abilities.

MITCH MASH: It didn’t mean much in the score of this game, sure.

But Mitch Hanger’s home run in the seventh inning continues his surge. He’s now one of 15 players in Mariners history to have a home run in four consecutive games (Nelson Cruz has done it three times).

Ken Griffey Jr. went eight consecutive games with a home run in 1993. Griffey, Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956) are the only players in major league history to do that.

Haniger also had a double to push his hit streak to six games.

Mariners_White Sox2.jpg
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Monday, April 23, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

LEAKE LIT UP: Mike Leake had only allowed eight earned runs in a start two others times, and the last was in 2016 with the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox feasted on him early in the count because, well, Leake kept leaving the ball in the upper middle part of the plate. The 12 hits he allowed tied a career high, and the other two times (in 2016 with the St. Louis Cardinals and 2013 with the San Francisco Giants) he allowed that many he still pitched six innings.

He lasted 3 1/3 innings on Monday.

"The ball got up tonight and he had a hard time getting it down and off the plate," Servais said. "It was a struggle tonight.

"It's Mike Leake's 10th start with us and really the first time he's had a rough one."

In his nine previous starts with the Mariners, Leake had pitched at least five innings. He has allowed 13 earned runs in his past 8 1/3 innings pitched.

He hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any start before these previous two.

PLAY OF THE GAME: If you’re picking one, maybe it was Yoan Moncada’s home run to lead off the fourth inning.

It seemed like maybe Mike Leake could find a groove. That maybe he had already allowed seven runs, but his pitch count was low and he could spare the Mariners’ bullpen.

Then Moncada rocked his changeup, which brought him to a single away from hitting for the cycle after leading off with a triple in the first inning and hitting a double in the second.

Moncada’s homer made it 8-0 White Sox.

Top pitcher: Wade LeBlanc was the only reliever the Mariners would need. He pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. The Mariners needed that.

“Those guys that can do that to save the back-end of your bullpen are the guys who allow you to go on hot stretches,” Zunino said. I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to use those guys and they are going to be fresh because of what Wade did.”

Top hitter: Jose Abreu hit two home runs. He had four of the White Sox’s 18 hits, finishing 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored.

QUOTABLE

Leake threw strikes, just not good strikes.

"Just a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate and up," Servais said. "He didn't have much tilt to it and he couldn't get them back and forth and he made mistakes. That happens in this league.

"The White Sox had been scuffling and they are an aggressive team and they have power and they showed it tonight."

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
@TJCotterill
  Comments