SHANNON DRAYER

New M’s DH Mitch Garver is 0 for 31 at T-Mobile Park – is it a problem?

Dec 30, 2023, 10:53 AM

Seattle Mariners Garver Mitch...

Mitch Garver bats for Texas against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on Sept. 29, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

So about that 0-for-31 at T-Mobile Park for new Seattle Mariners designated hitter Mitch Garver.

You probably – and definitely should – love the .500 SLG and 138 wRC+ that Garver posted last season with the Texas Rangers. You are probably a tad bit concerned – and probably should be – about the most games he’s ever played in a season being the 102 he recorded in 2018.

Seattle Mariners likely not done after Garver addition, so what’s next?

But if you are worried about the 0-for-31 lifetime mark at T-Mobile Park, or even panicked, “He can’t hit at T-Mobile Park!” on first look, you perhaps shouldn’t be. As I mentioned on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy last Tuesday, it should be nothing. A small sample, blip on the radar of an entire career. Right?

We will have a chance to ask Garver himself about hitting at T-Mobile Park when he is formally introduced to the media in the not too distant future, but until then, the curiosity (and for some, concern) remains. Fortunately, it’s not hard to take a look back and attempt to put together the puzzle that is 0-for-31 at T-Mobile.

Spoiler alert, when you take a close look, it’s not much of a puzzle.

The 0-for-31 came in a span of eight games played in three series over three seasons. The first came in 2018, his full rookie season. After making his debut in late August 2017, Garver was pressed into additional action the next year when Twins opening day starting catcher Jason Castro was lost for the year to a knee injury in mid-May. Nine days later, the Twins opened a three-game series against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Series 1: May 25-27, 2018

Garver came into the series cold, with only two in his last 11 at-bats, and to that point owning just two home runs and a .687 OPS in his first 81 plate appearances. Pitching for the Mariners in Game 1 was James Paxton, who was not exactly welcoming as he struck out 11 in seven innings while allowing just three hits and no walks. Garver went 0 for 3 with two groundouts and a strikeout in the Twins’ 2-1 loss to the Mariners.

Game 2 would bring more opportunity for Garver as it went 12 innings, but he did not cash in, going 0 for 5. He got the ball in the air just once against Wade LeBlanc and a host of relievers before Mike Zunino walked it off with a 401-foot shot down the left-field line against future Mariners reliever Matt Magill.

Garver did not play in Game 3 of the series, a 3-1 Mariners win behind eight innings of four-hit ball from Mike Leake to complete the sweep. Garver left Seattle 0 for 8 in his first series at T-Mobile Park.

Series 2: April 19-21, 2022

Games 10-12 of the season. April at T-Mobile? I probably do not need  to say more but will give you the details anyway.

Garver, newly acquired from the Twins, played in all three games for the Rangers, hitting third behind fellow offseason additions Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. He went 0 for 12 with two strikeouts in the series, facing starters Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert and Marco Gonzales for the Mariners. The 0-fer in Seattle turned out to be part of a bigger early-season struggle where Garver went 1 for 27.

Series 3: Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2023

The final series of the season for both the Mariners and Rangers, and perhaps for all the marbles. The Rangers came away with most of them despite dropping the series 3-1.

Garver came in hot, having gone 10 for his last 23, then nothing. That said, he faced some pitching.

Game 1, Logan Gilbert threw six innings of three-hit, no-walk ball, with Garver going 0 for 3 with a strikeout and two pop fouls.

Game 2, the Bryan Woo strategic “walk the world” game. Garver went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and three flyouts.

Game 3, Garver sat.

And Game 4, he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in a four-hit gem pitched by George Kirby.

That is how Garver got to 0 for 31 in Seattle. If you are wondering, yes, it is the longest hitless streak by an opponent in the park by far. You have to go back to the early 2000s and Jeff DaVanon’s 0 for 21 to find the nearest competitor. As for active competition, the Angels’ Matt Thaiss has an 0 for 15 going, and would it surprise you to know All-Stars Juan Soto and Will Smith are hitless at T-Mobile Park in 17 plate appearances?

For Garver, it is an eye-catching streak, and it’s easy to point at the ballpark and ask what’s up. When you break it down by series, however, the picture becomes clearer. It’s just three series. One played by a newly-minted rookie starting catcher, another barely out of spring training against good pitchers who were likely still a tick ahead of the hitters, and the third, a truly bad series against very good pitching fighting for their playoff lives.

There are circumstances and things happened. Was it the building, or three separate short-stretch struggles within a season? Very likely the latter. Regardless, we will find out soon enough.

More on Seattle Mariners’ addition of Mitch Garver

What stands out as Garver signing officially announced
What’s the state of the M’s lineup with addition of Garver?
Drayer: Digging into Seattle Mariners’ addition of Mitch Garver
Mariners make deal with free-agent slugger Mitch Garver

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New M’s DH Mitch Garver is 0 for 31 at T-Mobile Park – is it a problem?