Skip to main content

Why the Discussion Around Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales Needs to Shift

Marco Gonzales has received criticism for his performance in the second half, but continues to give the Mariners a chance to win more often than not. Why is he being treated as a scapegoat? Ben Ranieri takes a look.

For much of the 2022 season, the Mariners' pitching rotation has been one of the best in all of Major League Baseball. Additions of Robbie Ray, George Kirby and Luis Castillo have impacted the club in a big way, Logan Gilbert has progressed fairly well in year two and Marco Gonzales has continued to be steady. 

Gonzales is the longest tenured pitcher on the Mariners' staff and is well respected in the clubhouse and by his teammates. The Gonzaga alum has been remarkably consistent in a Seattle uniform, posting an ERA right around 4.00 in every season except the shortened 2020 campaign (3.10). 

This season, however, there are some concerning numbers.

Gonzales' FIP sits at 4.99 on the season, which is almost a full run higher than his ERA. His K/9 has also shrunk to a minuscule 4.86 on the season, which is a drastic drop from the last two seasons. The more balls put in play with no real swing and miss stuff, the more reliant a pitcher becomes on his defense

Even with all of this, Gonzales has given the Mariners a chance in every one of his recent starts. Over his last four outings, the Colorado native has thrown 24.1 innings with just eight earned runs allowed. Even though it isn't always pretty, he continues to keep Seattle competitive when he takes the bump.

Here is where the perspective should shift. At this point in his career, Gonzales is a No. 4 or No. 5 starter in Seattle's rotation. He isn't Ray or Castillo and shouldn't be expected to pitch like either. 

In all likelihood, Gonzales isn't going to be asked to start a playoff game this October. It isn't a lock that he is in the rotation next season, but for now he continues to do his job. It is understandable to be frustrated at times, but in reality Gonzales has been a league-average starter. 

All that is asked of a No. 5 starter on a playoff team is to give the team a chance. Marco Gonzales has done just that.