The Seattle Mariners are in the thick of the American League playoff race, occupying the second Wild Card spot and only a half-game behind the Houston Astros for the AL West lead going into Saturday. The weight of any loss can vary, and for what it's worth Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was not costly since the Astros and the Texas Rangers lost too.
But, the Mariners led Friday night's game 4-2 going into the seventh inning. Starter George Kirby was at 94 pitches through six innings, approaching the line of continuing or not based on that pitch count, but he was kept in the game.
After recording an out to start the inning, Kirby allowed a double to Jose Siri. Siri stole third, then Kirby allowed a two-run home run to René Pinto. He was promptly replaced by Isaiah Campbell, who proceeded to allow a two-run homer later in the inning to get saddled with the loss. Tampa Bay tacked on a run in the eighth to provide the final margin.
George Kirby was not happy with the decision to leave him in vs. Rays
Kirby was scratched from his start a couple of weeks ago due to an illness. In his return to the mound last Sunday against the New York Mets, he went just three innings as he threw 73 pitches. He has thrown 100 pitches in five of his 27 starts this season (including Friday), and three of those have been in his last five starts.
Via Jake Garcia of KING 5, Kirby was not thrilled with the decision to send him out for the seventh inning on Friday night.
"I wish I wasn't out there for the seventh to be honest," Kirby said. "I was at 90 pitches and I didn't think I needed to go anymore, but, you know, it is what it is."
"It'll be a conversation soon," Kirby added.
The "conversation" Kirby intends to have soon will surely be with manager Scott Servais, pitching coach Pete Woodworth, or both. Maybe that conversation, at least as it relates to Friday night, should've been had in the dugout some time before Kirby was sent back out for the seventh inning.
Overall, independent of the Mariners' bullpen not exactly locking things down after him, this is not a good look for Kirby. He could have owned surrendering the lead in a game that was ultimately lost, but instead he basically blamed his failing on the decision to even have him in the game that long.