Mariners Takeaways: How Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert did in debuts
It may not have been the result they were looking for from either a team perspective or from a personal standpoint, but top Mariners prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert have their MLB debuts under their belts.
The Mariners lost the series opener to the Cleveland Indians 4-2 on Thursday night, with Kelenic going 0 for 4 with a strikeout from the leadoff spot and Gilbert allowing four runs in four innings and taking the loss on the mound.
There was still a lot to like from both of their days, though, and we’ll be seeing plenty more of that duo going forward.
Let’s look back at how those two fared in their MLB debuts.
Gilbert’s day started off well, as he pitched a clean first inning and needed just eight pitches to do so.
“The first inning honestly was kind of like a whirlwind. I don’t even remember it quite well, honestly,” Gilbert said after the game.
But he made a few mistakes in the second inning, allowing a Franmil Reyes home run and later singles to Josh Naylor and Jake Bauers that resulted in another run.
After recording his first MLB strikeout in the third, Amed Rosario hit a hard single and José Ramírez clobbered his American League-leading 11th home run on a 3-1 fastball.
“Obviously I made some mistakes and they make you pay for it,” Gilbert said. “I definitely won’t get away with all the mistakes that maybe I did coming up (through the minor leagues) and just falling behind in counts and stuff like that, usually they’re going to make you pay for it.”
Gilbert finished up his day with three strikeouts in the fourth, giving him a final line of four innings of four-run ball on five hits while recording five strikeouts and not walking anyone.
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Manager Scott Servais was pleased overall with Gilbert’s demeanor.
“I thought Logan was about as calm as you can be,” Servais said. “He was focused, looked very comfortable out there.”
In terms of Gilbert’s stuff, he stuck mostly to the fastball, which sat 96-97 mph early on before he settled in at 93-94. Servais was impressed with Gilbert’s fastball but admitted that the breaking ball wasn’t as sharp as they’re accustomed to with him.
“I know he’s had sharper outings and sharper breaking balls (than) tonight,” Servais said. “I thought his fastball was fine. (It had) a lot of life to it, but you’ve got to have that secondary pitch and locate it.”
Gilbert throws both a curveball and a slider, and he felt the curveball was better and more consistent than the slider on Thursday.
“I was kind of feeling (the slider) out as I went, and I feel like I probably could have done a better job of expanding the zone when I was ahead with two strikes, and when I needed a strike I might throw the one out of the zone that I need to be in the zone,” he said. “Some of (the breaking balls) felt great but some of them felt a little off.”
Overall, Gilbert was effective and threw a lot of strikes. Of his 71 pitches, 52 were strikes. He also showcased some swing-and-miss stuff with the fastball and breaking balls, though he didn’t use the changeup at all in this first outing.
Gilbert will take the ball next week as a member of the Mariners’ six-man rotation. His next probable start is Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers.
Gilbert’s debut had a lot of hype around it, but not as much as Kelenic’s.
A top-five prospect who is seen as a potential superstar everyday player for the Mariners, the highly-touted Kelenic hit leadoff and started in left field in his first MLB game.
Kelenic swung at the first pitch he saw in the big leagues, flying out to right field off starter Zach Plesac.
He then struck out while chasing two changeups in his next at-bat, and in his third plate appearance he grounded out to the first baseman.
In his fourth and final at-bat, Kelenic gave the ball a good ride, hitting it to left-center for a flyout that was 100.1 mph off the bat. The ball had an expected batting average of .430.
While Kelenic went hitless on the day, he was far from alone as Plesac took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the Mariners as a team managed just two hits.
Servais felt that Kelenic grew more and more comfortable in the batter’s box as the game went along.
“Jarred’s at-bats, obviously there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of anxiety going on,” Servais said. “I thought as the game went on he certainly calmed down and started working through some at-bats and the last ball he hit I thought he hit right on the barrel.”
Kelenic will be back in the lineup, likely leading off again, in his second game on Friday night against Cleveland.