What a great game! And boy, did we ever need it today.
Let's talk about the black and white, good vs evil first. James Paxton looked fantastic tonight. The most encouraging Paxton stat was the one next to BB which read zero. Control has been one of the most nagging issues for Paxton so this was uhh, "synonym for encouraging" (I am in tab rehab and am unfortunately over my limit right now. I apologize). If you choose to be encouraged by the career best 7 innings pitched or the career best 10 strikeouts, well, no one will argue with you. Or shouldn't. We can have more than one nice thing you know!%#@
Making this good Paxton start extra special was the evil Danny Hultzen injury news. "Hultzen is a sure thing" we heard. We know there is no such thing as a sure thing, especially for pitching prospects, but it was still nice to hear. And now Hultzen is on his way to see the infamous Horror film director, Dr. James Andrews. It could be a labrum issue, possibly the most horrific of all plot twists. Worst case, based on past labrum injuries, is that Hultzen could miss most or all of 2014. Actually, worst case is probably Crazy Evil Dr. Andrews sewing Danny's mouth to his anus to create the first Ouroboros pitcher in history for some evil reason that no one knows until it is too late and we are forced to pay annual tribute to appease Danny Ouroboros Hultzen. Cerberus is dead. All HAIL OUROBOROS.
Hultzen was more of a sure thing than Paxton at least, but hey, baseball happens. The Mariners have 3 rotation slots to fill, and if Hultzen is limping out of the race, at least we have the bright, shining hope of our friend from the North, James Paxton.
But James Paxton didn't just soothe the Hultzen news. We also have the gloomy gray news. This would be the Jack Zduriencik retention news that led to much gnashing of teeth and rending of things that probably didn't want to be rended even though they were hopefully inanimate and lacking will or wants (Please don't rend your animate objects over this issue). Jack Z is back at the GM helm for at least one more year and the official LL stance is that this is not the best thing that could happen. This is also the official stance of pretty much everyone in the Mariners blogosphere and several of the pros paid to write about the Mariners.
I don't have a die-hard stance on the issue and when lots of smart people all agree, well, I'm at least going to listen and they're most likely right. This isn't an appeal to authority, and I also see no reason to get off the fence. Smart people have very good reasons for thinking that bringing Zduriencik back is not in the best interests of this franchise. But James Paxton gives us some hope for 2014. Even if Jack Z trades him in the offseason for a strikeout happy, dingeriffic outfielder with piss-poor defense, he can still give us hop- wait, what the fuck. No Fuck THAT Jack, DON'T YOU DARE TRADE PAXTON. Please, god no, don't...
- Justin Smoak hit a homer! And it was as a righty! Again! Yes, this was only Smoak's second home run off a LH pitcher this year, butttttt...they have both been recent. I'm not going to draw anything out of it other than it may be a good thing. Watch yourself, it could be progress.
- Yo-ervis Medina, shut down reliever. Farquhar was pretty ok too shutting down the Royals in the 9th.
- Every Mariner hitter had a hit or a walk (9 hits, 4 BBs). Mariner pitchers allowed zero walks and only 5 hits. Kendrys Morales led the way with 3 of those hits, one being a double. Paxton led the pitchers by being a badass.
- Kyle Seager was hitless but I believe we can cut him some slack based on this gameday screenshot (Pitch 4 is most likely labeled incorrectly, but I am going to choose to believe it in order to protect Seager and his good name.):