Early reports today, well in advance of the baseball game, said that area winds were incredibly powerful. Gameday says that the wind was blowing out to right field at 20 miles per hour, and while winds obviously change over a span of 162 minutes, conditions turned a hitter-friendly environment into a more extremely hitter-friendly environment. And thewound up hitting five home runs. Five home runs! With the lineup you saw posted below!
It's not the same, of course, but the last time the Mariners hit five home runs in a game during the regular season was June 7, 2006. That was a game against the that went 11 innings, and the five Mariner home runs were hit by:
- Richie Sexson
- Yuniesky Betancourt
- Raul Ibanez
- Carl Everett
Everett's was a walk-off homer with two outs in the 11th off Jesse Crain. That was the Mariners' sixth win in seven games, improving to 28-33. Everett lasted another month and a half before he was finished. The Mariners lasted another two months before they were finished. I forgot that 2006 was the year the Mariners fell straight from 56-57 to 56-68. Still I'll always remember the Adrian Beltre home run that stopped the skid. That's enough history for now.
The five Mariner home runs today were hit by:
- Michael Saunders
- Carlos Peguero
- Luis Rodriguez
- Jesus Montero
- Johermyn Chavez
As you could guess, the one that got my attention was Saunders' dinger. Not only was it the first of the game; it was hit by Michael Saunders, and I'm in a position where I know full well that I'll be looking for any encouraging signs I can find. It's not the right thing to do. Objectively, given the limited information I have, I should feel the same about Saunders' dinger as I do about Peguero's dinger. But I don't, and at least I'm aware of my bias.
I mean, Saunders was a disaster with the Mariners last season. He OPS'd .424. Remember that year that Bob Gibson posted a 1.12 ERA? His OPS against that year was .469. But with Tacoma, Saunders OPS'd .864. His triple-A OPS was literally more than double his Major League OPS. Pitchers are different between triple-A and the Majors, but they aren't that different. Saunders has clear ability, and he's only 25, and with the right adjustments...I was excited about Michael Saunders for so long that I refuse to give up on him before he's exhausted every last opportunity. I guess this is just another post where I point out how badly I want Michael Saunders to succeed. If you're someone who really hates Michael Saunders, like just really hates him, and you can't even stand to see his face or read his name, I must be driving you up a wall.
The day's most terrifying moment came when Jesus Montero took consecutive foul tips off the gourd and had to come out. I was getting by on tweets, and all I got from the tweets was that Montero was removed after getting hit in the head. My brain immediately jumped to "concussion", which is funny since the brain of a concussed person doesn't immediately jump to anything. Concussions are uncertain, dangerous things, and the last thing we needed to worry about was Jesus Montero's brain after coming to terms with Franklin Gutierrez's injured boob muscle. Thankfully, Montero seems to be fine, having taken the shots to the jaw. I mean, he's not fine, in that his jaw is probably sore, but he doesn't hurt enough for us to care about. A player's pain must exceed a certain minimum threshold in order to evoke fan sympathy.
So instead of coming away worried about Montero, we come away the opposite of worried about Montero, since he hit that home run. Jesus Montero had to come out of the game and still I feel a tiny bit better about him today than I did yesterday.
Johermyn Chavez's first name sounds kind of like homerin' so of course he homered. All he ever does is homer because he is always homerin'. It's a wonder the Mariners ever got him in a trade. Especially for a guy named Brandon. All he ever does is brand because he is always brandin'! Ouch! I guess the Mariners also got back a Brandon. If the brandin' cancels out, then the Mariners got homerin' for free.
Munenori Kawasaki and Kyle Seager each struck out twice. It doesn't look like anybody on the pitching staff did anything incredible. Cesar Jimenez picked up where he left off last spring and allowed runs. Oh wait, here we go, Steve Delabar allowed a home run to Eric Sogard. It was a line drive hit to right so it probably got caught by the wind, but the former substitute teacher allowed a home run to a guy who looks like someone he would've taught. Also someone who looks like he has allergies. This is just a glasses stereotype but people who wear glasses are some of the last remaining people we can stereotype without people flipping their lids. (I bet Sogard's lid flips when he presses a button.)
So the Mariners surge to the top of the Cactus League standings while the A's plummet to the bottom. It's still very very early, but the Mariners are in the best position they possibly could've been in. They're back in action tomorrow afternoon, facing the...A's. I think that the Mariners only face the A's. I think Major League Baseball implemented radical realignment, and now the Mariners and the A's compete in a separate league by themselves.
Hector Noesi will pitch tomorrow, as will Kevin Millwood and Hong-Chih Kuo and other dudes. I don't plan on being around to write, but you can follow along on Gameday and on the radio and in the game thread I'll post if I don't forget to post it. Saturday afternoon baseball! A game between the Mariners and the A's that's no more meaningless than they usually are!