SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Observations: Marco Gonzales sharp against father’s Rockies

Mar 13, 2021, 4:18 PM
Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales...
Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales had five strikeouts in four scoreless innings. (Getty)
(Getty)

But not for the setting and the fact that his father was sitting in the opposing dugout, Marco Gonzales’ start Saturday afternoon at Salt River Fields against the Rockies looked like it could have been just about any midseason outing for the Mariners No. 1 pitcher.

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As it was, Frank Gonzales, pitching coach for the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate Hartford Yard Goats, got the rare opportunity to see his son pitch from the other side and what he saw was four scoreless innings and 5 strikeouts, something that should draw favorable reviews in the family post game debrief.

“It’s always very special,” said Marco of the rare opportunity to pitch against his father’s team. “I think I have pitched against his team one other time in spring training and in high school for one year (when he) coached at another high school in my hometown. That didn’t go well for him either.”

Ultimately it was the elder Gonzales’ team that came out on top as the Rockies took the 2-1 win over the Mariners on a walkoff home run off the bat of Greg Bird. A tough ending to an otherwise well-pitched game for the Mariners that started with Marco’s performance, an outing where he was able to be effective while getting work in on a pitch he believes will be big for him in 2021.

“I’ve been feeling really confident with my curveball,” he said. “It’s a pitch that’s going to take me deep into ballgames. I’m going to be able to lean on it a lot to both lefties and righties.”

Gonzales credited catching prospect Cal Raleigh with his game calling and going to the pitch in big situations, including a strikeout of Garrett Hampson to end the third inning.

“It’s a really valuable pitch for him,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “It’s the best pitch he’s got to get them to put the ball on the ground. You saw some more changeups from him than you normally see, he got a chance to get all of his stuff in play today.”

While it was good to see all of his pitches play, Gonzales said that he is still building arm strength and that there was still a lot of work to be done before leaving Arizona. From where the skipper sat, it was a performance he would be happy to take into the season.

“It was one of those days where if he had pitches, just let him go,” said Servais. “He was locked in today, there’s no question about it.”

Mariners Notes

• Mariners pitchers recorded 12 strikeouts and just one walk in the loss, with Casey Sadler striking out the side in the sixth inning and Will Vest striking out two in the eighth.

• Jake Fraley appeared to be fooled on a ball off the bat of Chris Owings in the fourth inning and paid for it crashing into the left field wall. He was checked out by the trainer on the field following the play and stayed in the game, but came out after his next at-bat. According to Servais, his removal from the game was precautionary and he is expected to be in the lineup Sunday.

• While he doesn’t have much to show for it, Julio Rodríguez has been putting together some nice at bats the last few days. He did come up with an infield hit, but his 111 mph lineout to left against Kyle Freeland was some of the loudest contact in the game.

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