Why we still haven’t seen the best of Mariners RHP Logan Gilbert
The month of April was very kind to young Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert.
In his first four starts of the season, Gilbert went 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA, 0.851 WHIP and 22 strikeouts to four walks in 22 1/3 innings. For being that dominant, Gilbert was named American League Pitcher of the Month.
Gilbert carried over that high level of performance to his first start of May, pitching 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Marlins, striking out five and walking four on his way to his fourth win of the season.
It wasn’t his best start in terms of command and stuff, but that’s what made it all the more impressive, former Mariners pitcher and current analyst Ryan Rowland-Smith told Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob on Monday.
“Max Scherzer has said that 10 out of 30 of his starts he feels like he’s got everything working, and I think that’s a separator from the guys who are good major league pitchers to guys who are great – who can identify once you get to that third inning that, ‘You know, this isn’t quite working, the command is off a little bit,'” he said. “… On the flip side of that, you’ve got guys that they might not have all their best stuff happening and there’s 16 foul balls after two innings like there was (for Gilbert on Sunday) and they’re like, ‘Man I can’t get a swing and miss,’ and then they start pitching away from contact and all of a sudden it’s just a downward spiral that is not looking good.”
Gilbert was able to give the Mariners a good performance without being at his best, though, which bodes well for him and Seattle going forward, Rowland-Smith said.
“(Mariners pitching coach) Pete Woodworth has said this a few times, I’ve said this a few times on air, that you still haven’t seen the best of Logan Gilbert,” he said. “You still haven’t seen those 10 of the 30 starts where he is absolutely nails and he’s got three pitches absolutely dialed in. And that speaks volumes when you’re his age and he understands that and makes those adjustments.”
The Sunday start from Gilbert, who will turn 25 on Thursday, also had one key moment that really caught Rowland-Smith’s eye. In the fifth inning, Gilbert got two quick outs before allowing back-to-back singles. Then, powerful outfielder Jorge Soler, who had a monster 468-foot home run in the first game of the series, came to the plate.
On a 2-2 pitch, Gilbert got Soler to hit a weak fly ball in foul territory to the first base side. It was a seemingly routine play that would have ended the inning, but first baseman Ty France dropped it, giving Soler another chance to do some damage. The very next pitch, though, Gilbert got Soler to chase a slider off the plate (nine seconds into the video here) to end the inning.
“You’re at the end (of) your rope and you’ve got a guy who had an absolute tank of a home run two nights ago off your buddy and who is an absolute power threat, and the Miami Marlins are just tearing the cover off the ball and then your boy Ty France drops a pop-up,” Rowland-Smith said.
That caused two things to happen, Rowland-Smith said.
“No. 1 is, ‘Oh man, I was this close to getting out of this inning. And these guys are starting to get me’ – because they were, if you watch the way that inning (was going),” he said. “No. 2, you say, ‘Hey, give me that ball back. We’re all good. I’m gonna stay right here with this slider and I’m going to start this bad boy off on the outside part of the plate and it’s going to take a left turn and you’re gonna swing right through it in this count,’ (which was the) biggest count of the game. And he did that. Little things like that when you pick up little cues like that from young pitches, man, it’s exciting to watch.”
Listen to the full interview at this link or in the player below.