Mariners Notebook: ALDS start can’t come soon enough for Logan Gilbert
HOUSTON – For four days in Toronto, Mariners pitcher Logan Gilbert did his best to stay in his normal, ultra-regimented routine – despite nothing being normal about his in-between-start days. He was slotted to pitch a game that he didn’t know if it would be played.
As it turns out, seven days of rest between starts has turned to nine, and that Game 1 American League Division Series start Tuesday against the Astros in Houston cannot come soon enough.
“It’s a dream come true,” Gilbert said Monday at Minute Maid Park. “I have watched these games since I was little and now we are here. I was excited thinking maybe I might be throwing in Toronto, just waiting and getting a little antsy because I want to be out there, and now finally getting my turn, it’s really special. It’s something to embrace, take it all in for a second. It’s a big deal to be here. This entire team has earned it.”
Mariners pitching coach Pete Woodworth noticed the antsiness.
“I think he was the guy that wanted to be out there the most,” he said of Gilbert. “He saw that emotion, he saw what Louie (Luis Castillo) was able to do and rise to that occasion. That’s Logan Gilbert. September the past two years have been his best month. He’s a big game pitcher, he’s the ultimate competitor. He’s ‘Walter.’ I think Walter really wanted to pitch in Toronto, but I’m glad he didn’t so now we get a fully rested Walter ready for the Astros.”
The extra days off should not be an issue. Gilbert has gotten off the mound a couple of times since his last start on Sept. 30 to keep the feel for his pitches. He has no concern about the break in his routine.
“It takes a little adjustment but for a good reason,” he said. “I had to wait nine or 10 days because we ended up winning the series and being here. It’s all good changes, nothing bad. If anything it’s good to get a little extra rest this time of year.”
The Astros will be getting their first look at the Mariners since July 31. In his last start at Minute Maid Park on July 28, Gilbert threw six innings of two-run ball against them. On Tuesday, Woodworth believes there is a chance they could see something extra.
“I don’t think they are going to see anything different, but they are going to see a guy pitching in the biggest game of his life who I think rises to the occasion and elevates his game on those days. I think they are going to see the best of Walter.”
• The Mariners have yet to submit their ALDS roster and must do so by 7 a.m. Tuesday. They have also not announced who will pitch Thursday in Game 2 or Saturday in Game 3, but in his clubhouse interview following the clinching win Saturday in Toronto, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto indicated it could be Luis Castillo as expected in Game 2 and George Kirby in Game 3. Castillo earned the win in the first game in Toronto, while Kirby picked up the save in one inning pitched Saturday in his first MLB relief appearance.
“We have a chance to go Logan and Luis Castillo in Game 1 and 2 in the series in Houston. You couldn’t really hope for more,” Dipoto said. “And George should have plenty of rest by the time we get teed up and back to Seattle.”
• With the odd scheduling for the ALDS – there will be a day off between each of the first three games, followed by the possibility of games on three straight days – this series will get interesting with the pitching. Game 1 starters will be able to start Game 4 on regular rest, but Game 2 starters would go on short rest in Game 5 if used.
If Castillo starts Game 2, I would fully expect him to start Game 5. You would want a full bullpen in this situation, but with a third straight game in as many days if this indeed does go five, I would imagine the ‘pens will be taxed at that point.
“I think the beauty of it is you have those off days at the beginning and the off day Sunday (before the series) to reset the bullpen,” said Woodworth. “It gives our bullpen guys a day to breathe and recover and get ready for the three at the end. It’s going to be a grind, a battle, as is the series. It’s going to be fun.”
• The Astros also haven’t announced who will start Game 2 or Game 3. In his media session Monday, Houston manager Dusty Baker revealed that there was an illness making its way through the clubhouse and he wanted to check in with everyone Tuesday before making the announcement. It is assumed that if all is well, Framber Valdez will start Game 2 and Lance McCullers Game 3. Justin Verlander will match up against Gilbert in Game 1.
• Carlos Santana, who suffered a hamstring cramp Saturday, ran through some stretches with a trainer before Monday’s Mariners workout and was able to take a full batting practice. It appears he is good to go.
• Julio Rodríguez took batting practice on the field Monday afternoon, something we have not seen on the field much late in the season. Rodríguez went 1 for 7 with a walk, two strikeouts and two hit by pitches in the Wild Card round against the Blue Jays. A good sign if you are looking for a Julio breakout: he hit the ball hard Saturday, recording balls in play at 102.7 and 111.3 mph.
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