Well, the Mariners played a baseball game today, and while they play around 200 regular season and exhibition games each and every year, this one was a little different. It was different for a number of reasons, some of which are good and some of which are not quite as good. But it was also, in a way, the same. The same fucking game that you've seen eight thousand, nine hundred, and forty seven times. Felix broke some arbitrary decades-long MLB record on the mound, and then the M's bats decided to stay at home and live out Homer the Heretic by staying in bed until noon and then letting the family dog lick their spilled chocolate off their shirtless flabby chests. Yeah, that game.
It happened in a very bizarre fashion, too. At 5:04 PM PST, Felix Hernandez was taking a perfect game into the fifth inning with only 45 pitches under his belt. He had a couple of groundouts in the first, and shared a laugh with Cano after unexpectedly receiving a fastball while covering first base. He dialed back in the second and started to bite his lower lip, furrowing his brow with fury and fire while Dustin Ackley grabbed every out of the inning. The third and fourth passed in heartbeats, and Felix's curve was six feet in the air before perfectly falling to the exact corner of the strikezone. He was pitching as well as he had ever pitched in his entire career, and the Indians knew it.
Unfortunately, they knew something else in the fifth, and what they knew was how to get to the King, apparently. By 5:11 PM PST, Carlos Santana drew a six-pitch leadoff walk, all the wheels came off--it was a double from Lonnie Chisenhall that a right fielder named anything other than Endy Chavez may have had, a single from Nick Swisher that could have been an out had Felix been covering first base, and the bases were juiced.
Felix's chance at Tom Seaver's record was under as much attack as it would ever be here, but the Mariners quickly turned a no-out danger zone into some productive, albeit damning few minutes of baseball. It would be all the Indians needed, but after a series of force-outs at home it was suddenly 2-0 Indians, and if you claim you felt anything at this moment other than expectation of failure and acceptance of life's inherent absurdity, then I call you a liar. A DAMNED LIAR.
Tomorrow, everyone will be talking about David Price and some other pitchers who may be traded, but on any other day they would be talking about Corey Kluber. Kluber pitched an 85-pitch complete game shutout for the Indians today, and he only gave up hits to Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Logan Morrison. He struck out eight, walked zero, and threw 81% of his pitches for strikes. That's incredible, and while you have to at least take for granted that he was facing the worst offense in baseball, his performance was still impressive. Those three hits--one from Seager in the second, one from Cano in the fourth, and one from Morrison in the fifth--were all the Mariners did, all night. Nobody reached third base, and Cano only got to second because Donnie Murphy bobbled picking up what would have been a single for anyone named anything other than Endy Chavez or Donnie Murphy in right field.
I was thinking of going to the usual bulletpoints here, but I don't think I'm going to do that because this was a dumb game and you already know pretty much everything I would bring up anyway. Instead, here is a simple list of what you need to know about this two-hour gem that just happened in what is apparently the most anti-Mariner baseball city in the world:
- Felix Hernandez broke Tom Seaver's forty-something year old "ultra quality start" record with a loss, because he is on the Mariners. The Universe usually seems rudderless and chaotic, indifferent to most of us, but the one thing you can say is that it's not going to let the Mariners get away with something like this with a win or anything. Geez, even it has standards.
- James Jones is horribly broken.
- Endy Chavez shouldn't be on this team.
- Logan Morisson is hahahahahaha oh no my stomach is burning
- Dustin Ackley is confusing as hell, and utterly beyond academic or statistical analysis. I don't know if you read Moneyball or anything but hah, those table sizes are way too big.
- Stefen Romero is still on the Seattle Mariners, and he did nothing in this game, but I'm still upset about that.
- That guy banging the drum in the Progressive Field outfield bleachers isn't nearly as bad as the Braves' tomahawk chop or the name of the football team from Washington, and you may disagree but I think the one thing we can agree on is that holy fuck, that's obnoxious.
- I wrote a thing a while back about how low run support for Felix may not be a thing anymore and I'm sorry I did that because I was wrong.
Tomorrow is the trade deadline and the Mariners are either going to do something or not do something, and the future of their season and playoff hopes depends on it. I'll let you decide what that sentence means, because even I'm not sure. I'm just glad this game is done, over, and in the books.