WFB singles to left, in play (runs). WFB singles to right, in play (in play, runs).
It's the Willie Show! Featuring anybody but Brad Miller who is here but not really here, and this is depressing and weird! Bloomquist hit two crucial singles tonight to power the Mariners offense, filling in for Robinson Cano. This is the one thing Bloomquist can do - hit left-handed pitching for average - and that's what he did. I win this one, cynicism.
Tonight was Cano's third game missed in a row, which might seem like nothing if it weren't for the fact that Cano hasn't missed more than three games in a season since 2006. The whole thing has been weirdly hush hush, and it would be nice to see him return to the lineup before it gets any weirder. Meanwhile, Nick Franklin continues to look like the AAAA player many feared he would be, wearing tonight's collar while striking out in each of his three plate appearances. How did the Mariners go from having too much talent at shortstop to having none so quickly?
Today's lineup was one of the very weirdest we've ever seen Lloyd run out, as Robinson Cano's absence forced the manager to stir it up uncomfortably, moving Mike Zunino to #3, Willie Bloomquist to leadoff, and Endy Chavez to 2nd. Chavez has been here for two days, and despite being fairly dismal in AAA, he's already playing his hand of manager pet project, earning his way into the lineup almost immediately. I would like to take whatever powers of grit Chavez has over managers that make them play him no matter what, because that power could be used for something much greater than a semi-quick slap hitter who doesn't hit.
Despite the oddball lineup, the Mariners were able to plate some runs early, thanks to Cole Gillespie and Willie Bloomquist. While Gillespie's RBI was of the infield nature, I wouldn't be surprised if we started to see his playing time rise a bit, especially against left-handed pitching. His crucial catch in the 7th will surely help his cause, but more on that in a bit.
The Mariners were all over Drew Smyly early, even if it didn't result in a lot of runs. Smyly was over 100 pitches by the end of the 4th inning, and that did it for him. Evan Reed took over and quieted the Mariner bats, only allowing one hit while striking out two in his two innings. The early damage ended up being enough.
Chris Young entered the 7th with a sparkling performance, but a leadoff double to Austin Jackson eventually turned into a run after Dominic Leone entered the game. Rajai Davis beat out a tough squibbler to Kyle Seager, and Cole Gillespie made a hell of a play against the wall to rob Ian Kinsler of blowing the game wide open, setting the stage for a 8/9 combo.
For some unknown reason, Yoervis Medina remains the team's set-up man, once again getting the ball instead of Danny Farquhar in the 8th inning with a one run lead. Farquhar didn't pitch yesterday, either. Medina wasn't that sharp today, getting Torii Hunter to wave at a slider well out of the zone and narrowly missing a crushed Victor Martinez hit to right, as Endy Chavez nabbed the screamer at the wall. What do you do about Martinez, anyways? He's not going to strike out, and he seems to hit anything you throw at him. He's terrifying. Either way, Medina got out of the inning with another sweeping slider, leaving things up to the Fernando Rodney experience in the 9th with a 3-2 lead.
And then it began. Rodney was all over the place early, only managing one strike to his first batter before allowing a cue shot single to put runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. The Mariners send their defense back after the leadoff runner to avoid doubles, and then promptly gave up a blooper. Andrew Romine attempted to bunt, but couldn't get the job done, eventually missing way out in front of a Rodney change-up for the first out. Rajai Davis managed to put together approximately a ten minute AB against Rodney, but fell victim to hard heat well down and out of the zone on a full count. Kinsler grounded out, and you may all exit the Fernando Rodney coaster experience. Please vomit in the bins provided, and your exit is to the left. Watch for falling arrows.
This one was a big one for the Mariners, as they'll get the luxury of facing Max Scherzer tomorrow before they head out to New York for a makeup game against New York.
Chris Young was awesome, Willie Bloomquist nabbed some timely hits, and the Mariners beat Detroit 3-2. Think about reading that sentence a year ago. Cry, laugh, celebrate in confusion.