Rangers show Mariners why they're best in west with crushing sweep


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May 30, 2023

Rangers show Mariners why they're best in west with crushing sweep

June 4, 2023 Updated Sun., June 4, 2023 at 9:08

June 4, 2023 Updated Sun., June 4, 2023 at 9:08 p.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Back on the first of day of February when all that could be good for the upcoming season felt possible if not probable for the Mariners, Jerry Dipoto, ever the optimist and with a recent postseason appearance in his pocket, outlined the goals for what he felt was an improved roster.

"Frankly, the goal last year was to win the division," Dipoto said. "That’ll be the goal every year — to win the division, get into the postseason and try to do some damage. We’ve never been more convinced of this team's ability to do those things than we were at the end of last season. I think that goes for all the players in the clubhouse. It goes for us in the front office, our staff. The goal is to win the division. We feel like that's a realistic goal. And we’re going to do the best we can."

On the fourth day of June, in the Mariners’ 59th game of the season, that goal, which may have been more of a wistful hope allowing no room for individual regression, appears done.

Any lingering remnants of a pulse were extinguished with a 12-3 dismantling by the Texas Rangers, the team sitting atop the American League West.

The shellacking capped a lopsided three-game sweep by the Rangers in which the Mariners wasted a brilliant performance by Luis Castillo on Friday night, failing to score a run in a 2-0 loss. They followed that up with a pair of rookie starting pitchers getting rocked and the bullpen not faring much better in two drubbings, where they were outscored 28-9.

The Mariners fell to 9.5 games back in the division and sit in fourth place behind the Rangers, Astros and now Angels (31-30). Somehow that gap between the Mariners and Rangers feels even farther based on talent, production and potential.

"There's no way to sugarcoat it," manager Scott Servais said. "They beat us. They just flat out beat us. There's nothing we can do about it now. We’ve got to get to San Diego and start playing better baseball."

Few teams are playing better baseball than the Rangers right now. The improved to 38-20, the second-best record in MLB with wins in 12 of their last 15 games. . They now have four three-game series sweeps on the season (Philadelphia, Colorado and Kansas City) and have won five consecutive series.

Right-hander Bryce Miller, pitching in front of a large group of family and friends in his first big league start in his home state, struggled for the second consecutive outing against a Rangers lineup that is decimating pitchers.

Miller never made it out of the third inning.

The Rangers pounded him for seven runs on eight hits, crushing misplaced fastballs and refusing to chase his breaking pitches.

After allowing a double to Marcus Semien to start the game and walking Corey Seager, Miller came back to strike out Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia. Miller was a strike away from ending the inning scoreless. But he walked Josh Jung after getting up 1-2 on his first three pitches. That allowed Jonah Heim to come to the plate with the bases loaded. Heim, who came into the game batting .500 (21-for-42) with runners in scoring position dumped a broken-bat single to left to score a pair of runs.

After Miller came back with a 1-2-3 second inning, it seemed like he might be able to keep the Mariners in the game.

Instead, he left a fastball down the middle to Seager, who smashed a solo homer over the wall in center to start the inning. It only got worse for Miller, who allowed a single to Lowe, a double to Garcia and single to Jung that scored two more runs. He quelled the bleeding for a moment, getting Heim to pop out. But Mitch Garver laced a double into the gap and Robbie Grossman smoked a single that made it 7-0.

The Mariners didn't muster much offensively until Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi exited after six scoreless innings.

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