On Friday I went to the Mariners game with a bunch of Swedes who were in town for a friends wedding. It might have been one of the more entertaining games that I have ever attended. Not only did the Mariners win, I was tasked with trying to explain the rules and such of a baseball game.
It really was a hard endeavor. Once you get past the basics of baseball, it starts to get pretty tough to explain all those random nuances of the game. Like a lot of sports, baseball has its fair share. But for people whose only background of a live sporting event involves Zlatan Ibrahimović, baseball becomes as foreign of a concept as possible.
So despite sitting in a state of confusion that I was partially responsible for, the Swedes all appeared to have a grand time. This we can attribute to the Mariners game and the lovely feeling that floats throughout Safeco when the Mariners are winning. Winning just feels good, even if you don't truly understand how the team is winning. Yesterday the Mariners didn't win and it felt terrible. Today the Mariners did win and it felt great. Tomorrow the Mariners will win because it is Felix Day, and that will feel even better because it will be against the Toronto Blue Jays. Baseball in the summer is awesome again this year and that is the best feeling in the world.
The Mariners took three of four from the White Sox and continued a strong homestand. It also seemed like one of those really generic 4-2 wins that are peppered throughout a season, but this win still had some little weird moments. Luckily, the weird moments didn't overwhelm the good moments. Austin Jackson clubbed some runs in the second inning and Jesus Sucre was the hero of the game for charging to score from first as if his roster spot depended on that one play. Jackson would tie his career-high with his fourth RBI of the night in the seventh inning.
It seemed like more than enough offense, but then the White Sox started to show some flair for late game theatrics. Tyler Flowers hit a home run off of Tom Wilhelmsen in the eighth inning to put the White Sox on the board. Then the Fernando Rodney Experience began, which, to be fair, wasn't entirely his fault. Alexei Ramirez opened the inning with an infield single that came off of Kyle Seager bobbling an attempted barehanded play. Jose Abreu singled to put runners on first and second. With the required amount of men on base, Rodney got to the closing business. He struck out Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo before allowing a run score off of Conor Gillaspie's single up the middle. Rodney then hit Flowers in the stomach with a pitch to load the bases before finally notching the arrow by striking out Jor Danks. What a trip.
- Erasmo Ramirez wasn't particularly great tonight, but he wasn't particularly bad either. He didn't last long though, only pitching 4.1 innings before Lloyd McClendon came charging out of the dugout and pulled him with a 2-1 count on Gordon Beckham. You don't see that happen too often to pitchers (unless injuries are involved), and it will be interesting to hear McClendon's thoughts on the matter. Shots of Ramirez in the dugout looked like McClendon has just shook him down for his lunch money. In the end, it all worked out well because Dominic Leone got an inning ending double play.
- It was a good day for the Mariners' new guys. Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia combined for five hits, with Jackson picking up all the clutch hits.
- Logan Morrison had one hit to extend his hit streak to 11-games -- currently the longest in the AL. Most impressive though was the poise Morrison showed in the top of the sixth inning. Leone appeared to have picked off Alejandro De Aza at first, but the first base umpire called him safe. Morrison, instead of throwing the ball to Leone and letting the game go on as normal, calmly walked the ball over to Leone to stall a bit. That gave the time for the coaches to take a look at the video and make the challenge to overturn the call. Little things like that are what good teams do.
- Taijuan Walker started for the Rainiers today and he was a monster -- at one point retiring 17 consecutive batters. That is more like it.
Taijuan Walker's season-high 13 K's today are the most by a #Rainiers pitcher since Rich Dorman K'd 14 on Aug. 29, 2006 vs. Salt Lake.— Tacoma Rainiers (@RainiersLand) August 10, 2014
The Mariners didn't gain any ground in the Wild Card chase because both the Royals and the Blue Jays won on Sunday as well. The Blue Jays won in an impressive fashion, playing 19 innings in a game that lasted over six and a half hours. The Blue Jays also went into extra innings on Saturday night. Toronto has played three games worth of baseball in two days and now has to fly to Seattle to face Felix Hernandez. I'm an empathetic guys so normally I would feel bad for them but Toronto needs to lose every game possible so I don't. The Mariners have a great chance to continue a strong homestand against a gassed team. And it is Felix Day. I love the summer.