Hovering around .500 with the trade deadline looming, the Seattle Mariners had to decide whether to part ways with some of their promising young players or hope their improved play in July would continue the rest of the season. President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto chose the latter, and the team responded by winning 19 of its first 24 games in August.
Sunday’s 3-2 victory to sweep the Kansas City Royals gave the 74-56 Mariners sole possession of first place in the AL West. Just 12 days earlier, they were 7.5 games behind the Texas Rangers. The last time Seattle was leading the division this late in the season was 2003, and the last time they won their division was 2001.
— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) August 27, 2023
Key to their recent surge is starting pitcher Logan Gilbert, who allowed one earned run over seven innings in a 15-2 win Saturday.
“Everybody’s playing the best brand of baseball that we can right now on every side — pitching, defense, hitting,” Gilbert said after the game. “It’s fun to be in this spot.”
Gilbert owns a 31-16 record in his three-year big-league career and was one of the team’s potential trade candidates at the deadline because of his success. Speaking to the Seattle Times last month about the trade speculation, Gilbert pointed to his faith in God that has guided him throughout his baseball journey.
“You hear things,” he said. “It’s part of the business. I’m not too worried about it. I just kind of keep my head down and trust in God’s plan and what He’s got for me. That’s pretty much it.”
In his last 10 starts, Gilbert is 7-0 with a 2.87 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. He threw a complete-game shutout against the San Francisco Giants on July 4 and has not been handed a loss since June 28.
The 26-year-old is 12-5 on the season, leaving him one win shy of tying the career high he set last year. Gilbert posted a 13-6 record and 3.20 ERA in 2022 as the Mariners ended a 20-year playoff drought.
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Back in April, Gilbert discussed his faith journey and his desire to honor God through baseball in an interview with Play4Him.
“Everything I do, I’m trying to glorify God and use the talents that He’s given me on the baseball field and in life,” he said.
As he’s established himself as a high-end major league starter, Gilbert has learned that relying on God helps him stay focused on the things he can control.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the game, and I’ve realized that there’s a lot that’s just out of your control,” he said in the interview. “And we try so hard to have control, but I think I’m in a better spot when I recognize my dependence on God and His plan and His perfect will.”
Gilbert told Play4Him that he grew up going to church and came to know Christ at an early age, but really took ownership of his faith during his time at Stetson University (DeLand, Florida). Seattle took him with the 14th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, and he made his MLB debut on May 13, 2021.
Whenever he takes the mound, Gilbert draws confidence from knowing he is never alone.
“It’s just knowing that I’m not on my own out there,” he told Play4Him. “There are so many Bible verses about Him being with us and Him fighting for us. Everything that I am on the field — all the strength that I have — I get from Him.”
The Mariners are one game ahead of the Rangers in the AL West heading into Monday night’s game at home against the Oakland Athletics. First pitch is at 9:40 p.m. ET.
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