- 42-33. 42-33! And Los Angeles got swept by the freaking Royals!
- At first I thought the power being out today might be a bit of a blessing, since I didn't expect the game to go very well at all. I was anticipating a loss, and even when I checked the score on my phone and it said "1-0 Seattle bottom 3rd" I thought it was a fluke. As I kept re-checking the score, though, my phone kept saying "1-0 Seattle," so I became more and more invested. I thought it was all over in the seventh when Boston knotted things up and got people on base for Ortiz (by this point I was going online with my phone and dealing with slow loading times to get the play-by-play), but that's what I get for doubting the bullpen.
Around that point I got to a friend's house, and with the Mets in a rain delay, ESPN started showing bonus coverage of the M's game. They pulled away before the bottom of the ninth, because clearly far more people were interested in the completely irrelevant early innings of a game between the Yankees and Orioles, but we were able to boot up MLB.tv and watch until the end. The whole experience reminded me why I generally don't like to watch sports with friends, because if I like one of the teams playing and the game gets stressful, I turn into a wreck. I can't count how many times I wrote that one off, be it when Morrow intentionally walked JD Drew, or when Burke struck out, or when we stranded guys on the corners, or when Jason Davis had to come in out of the bullpen. I thought it was as good as over when Richie popped out. If you were reading my mind you would've though the Mariners lost this game four or five times.
And then they pulled it out. With eight baserunners in eleven innings against the Red Sox, they pulled it out. After having listened to the final two innings of the Royals/Angels game on the radio in the car, this felt like one of the greatest baseball days I'd had in years. At one point I thought to myself "well in all fairness we didn't have to beat Schilling or Beckett," but then I realized, so what? Boston had the privilege of facing Weaver and Feierabend and couldn't do a damn thing. The Mariners earned this sweep and left every last thing they had out there on the field this afternoon, and now they get a day off to rest up and be merry. And so do we. Sometimes the good thing about baseball is that you have the chance to move on from today with a good game tomorrow, but other times you just want to take it easy and soak in the moment. Commence soakage.
- Game thread intro:
Anyway, the pitching matchup sucks, but if Feierabend's able to make a few balls die at the track instead of soar over it, that might be enough to keep it interesting.
I didn't get to watch Feierabend go to work, but the box score tells me he had ten fly ball outs, and the play-by-play says seven of them were "deep". I'm guessing today would've been a whole hell of a lot different had it taken place in Fenway. But then, we've known for a while that, like Washburn, Feierabend has a skillset that's well-suited for this ballpark, so why hold it against him when he takes advantage? Way to not suck. The next lineup you face won't be as terrifying, I promise.
- The "greatest clutch hitter of all time" has hit .226 in close and late situations so far this year. Clear fluke, but the guy stranded 11 baserunners in the series, and that's a big part of why we won. Interesting sidenote: Ortiz has a 1.024 OPS, but stands at a paltry .583 against what Baseball-Reference considers "power pitchers" (K% + BB% > 28%). Single-season splits don't mean very much at all, especially in late June, but if you look at his career, he's at .930 overall and .794 against power arms. This is a considerably wider split than the average (.758 vs. .711; the Mariners, for example, are currently at .764 and .740), and it suggests that the man may actually have a weakness after all. If David Ortiz stands between you and a win, call on the guy with the heat, even if his control could be better. It's the easiest of several difficult ways to make him disappear.
- Mike Hargrove deserves all the credit in the world for his bullpen usage today (going to Davis sucks, but he didn't have a choice; O'Flaherty was exhausted and I don't trust Rowland-Smith in that situation). Putz in the ninth was a stroke of brilliance, and I don't think that's a move he makes a year ago. Francona did a swell job himself for a while there until the end, when a still inexplicably roidless Joel Pineiro showed up and promptly sent everyone home. Seriously, why not get him loaded again? Either he sneaks by and develops a fastball again or he gets caught and suspended, in which case your team loses nothing at all, because Pineiro's been horrible. I absolutely love that he got to walk off the Safeco mound with the opposing team celebrating around him, because his eventless final game last September didn't give him the send-off he deserved. Up yours, Joel. Finally we've discovered a way to use your awful pitching to our advantage.
- Yuniesky Betancourt had another three pop-outs today. I don't know what the single-season record is, but he must've shattered it about a week ago.
- The Seattle Mariners have the second-best June record in the American League. And the only team ahead of them just got swept at home by the Royals.