Yesterday, even as they handed a game to theto apologize for all the history, the still sent a strong message. The game came down to the ninth inning. The Indians all but scored the Mariners' go-ahead run by themselves. They then put the winning run in scoring position in the bottom half before making the final out. Even though the Indians gave the Mariners the game, they showed that they could've beaten the Mariners if they wanted to.
Early Tuesday, they wanted to. Early Tuesday, the Indians were no longer apologizing for anything, so early Tuesday, the Indians were once again up to their old tricks. They allowed the Mariners some glimmer of hope, and then they stomped on their throats, crushing them dead.
Or crushing them stunned and injured, I guess. The Mariners can't be dead, since they're playing another game in just a little while. There's an argument to be made that it's good for the Mariners to have such a quick turnaround, since it gives them an instant opportunity to forget what just happened, but there's also the opposite argument, where it's bad to have a quick turnaround because the M's may still be dwelling on the first game while playing the second.
I don't know which argument contains more elements of truth in this particular case. I do know they're both founded on the notion that that first game really sucked. And it did suck. For the Mariners. Less so for us. For us, it was just disappointing. Rats!
Outcome aside, at least that game was exciting. I've been less entertained.
A shorter selection of bullet holes, since, second game and everything:
Blake Beavan showed something he needed to show, as he generated ten swings and misses over six innings of work. He picked up five with his fastball and five with his curve, beginning with a flurry before settling into something more normal. This was important for him, because Beavan's contact rate had been unacceptably high.
It's not like he was dominant, though. He'll never be dominant. When a hitter swings and misses at a Blake Beavan pitch, you're often left wondering how, and in between whiffs, the Indians hit a lot of balls hard. It seemed like every few minutes there was a fair or foul line drive to right field, and even though I know that's an exaggeration, there was good contact, and plenty of it.
So Beavan succeeded by straddling a dangerous line. Get used to that. It isn't intended as a harsh criticism - lots of pitchers have to do the same thing. But it is what it is. Beavan can only work with what he has, and what he has right now is pretty limited.
Shin-Soo Choo against the Mariners in his career: .298/.392/.561, over 131 trips to the plate. The only team he's hit better over a decent sample is the , and the Royals don't even have real pitchers. They never have. They had one by accident, but they traded him to the as soon as they recognized what was going on.
The obvious angle is that, oh man, it sure does suck to get beat on a walk-off by a former Mariner. Especially when that walk-off scores two other former Mariners. But look on the bright side: they were former Mariners! Such great scouting! Besides, the Indians have so many former Mariners that I'm pretty sure they're considered a Mariner colony. Their success is our success.
- This game was interrupted by an earthquake. Wait, no, the broadcast was interrupted by an earthquake. The game was not interrupted by an earthquake, because nobody on the field had any idea there was an earthquake. Some earthquake.
There was a lot of expressed amazement at the fact that the earthquake was felt some hundreds of miles from its epicenter. Now consider that the 1883 eruption of Krakatau was heard nearly 3,000 miles away from the source. Volcanoes > earthquakes. There's not even an argument.
- It's a hard thing to explain with words, but while Adam Kennedy looks like a normal hitter in his stance, by the time he's done swinging he looks completely exhausted. It looks like his swing slows down halfway through as his muscles grow weary, and the bat starts to drag through the air. Adam Kennedy swings the way I would expect a 60-year-old man to swing.
- It is not time to worry about Dustin Ackley. He did come close to leaving the yard with a long drive to center in the ninth. However, he finished hitless, and he committed a big error in the bottom of the ninth with nobody out and a runner on second. Ackley fielded a groundball, turned to throw to third, double-pumped, and then threw high, allowing the runner to reach. Now is when we get to see how Ackley responds to his first real Major League adversity. Based on his minor league track record of responding to adversity, he will be fine, soon.
- In the top of the fifth, Franklin Gutierrez blasted a double off the fence in deep center to drive home a run. It was the hardest ball I can remember seeing Guti hit in a good long time. This is encouraging if it's a sign of progress. This is discouraging if it's a sign of what he's been reduced to. Stay tuned!
Trayvon Robinson has 13 Major League hits, and eight of them have gone for extra bases. Today he came up with a pair of doubles, including one huge one in the top of the ninth that plated the tying and go-ahead runs. After falling behind 0-2 against Chris Perez, he watched two close balls outside, fouled off a tough fastball, watched another close ball outside, then yanked a fastball over the plate into right field on a line. It was an impressive at bat, and not the kind of at bat you expect to see from a young player with Robinson's strikeout issues.
The Mariners are playing a lot of Trayvon Robinson these days because they want to see what they have, and so far, Robinson has exceeded my own expectations. He hasn't been perfect, but he's shown just how close he is to being a true impact player. Be cautiously excited.
Willis: Did you see that?
Willis: Dan's ankle. I should get out there.
Willis: /walks towards mound
Willis: What's up?
Cortes: I tweaked my ankle pretty bad.
Willis: Can you pitch?
Cortes: I don't know.
Willis: Let's see a few practice throws.
Cortes: /spikes fastball
Cortes: /spikes fastball
Cortes: /hits screen
Cortes: /spikes curveball
Willis: Everything looks normal to me.