The first thing you will notice about this here baseball game is that it was not lost by the Seattle Mariners.
The second thing you will notice is that Fernando Rodney earned his third save of the season after striking out Shin-Soo Choo and forcing Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos to make weak contact on 98 mph heat on the edges of the zone.
The third thing you will notice is that it is, indeed, April 19th in the year 2015, and that all the headscratching and stomach-turning suffered during the past week was destined to end soon, or at least provide you momentary reprieve before coming back again like your shadow stretching out with the morning sun. I say this because the Seattle Mariners won last night's baseball game looking exactly like the team they were supposed to be when this article was published, except instead of providing you with three hours of indicative proof you could use to justify that ALCS prediction, they made the whole thing feel like luck, goddamn luck.
Just tell me you won't take it.
Last night, Felix Hernandez pitched seven innings and he struck out twelve Rangers batters. He only gave up two hits, and they both went to leadoff hitter Leonys Martin with, mind you, a bit of that very same luck. Dave Sims and Mike Blowers were extra vigilant in trying to detect any strange motion or cautious lingering on the King's legs, as he was coming off a shortened outing in Oakland that saw him straining his right quad and limping back to the dugout after an uncharacteristically labored outing.
Every slow jaunt, every lean and every questionable stare was under the most medicalized scrutiny here, and rightfully so. We don't need to talk about stakes or possibilities, but we all know what's waiting under the bed for us with big scary teeth and a mouth dripping in saliva, especially considering the fact that Felix was still feeling a bit of tightness in his leg during the game. But I'm not sure that this is the look of a man worried about his health as much as it's the look of a man incredulous over the fact that home plate umpire Adam Hamari had just awarded Jake Smolinski first base after he fell backwards grasping his hands in pain after..............................ticking a foul ball off his bat.
the king is not happy. someone must pay http://t.co/sv8RBGb6rv— Jose Rivera (@Jose8BS) April 19, 2015
Felix did graze a sinker off Beltre's shoulder in the first, but this was an absolutely bonkers moment that was upheld by replay a few moments later, because it appears that they have been investing in great high-framerate cameras for clear, unblurry slo-mo replays at first while throwing regular old cameras above and near home plate--which, you know, is just another random base out there and not any more important than the next or another.
I don't know if any of that is actually true or not, but it appeared that the reason the call wasn't reversed was because it was too blurry to tell whether the ball actually bounced off the bat or if it grazed Smolinski's hand in the process. Of course, what I'm not telling you in all this is that everyone else watching the video knew it was a foul ball despite the confusion because, you know, physics, but what are you gonna do.
In more back-to-your-scheduled-programming Mariners news, Mike Zunino did a thing.
Mike Zunino gets all of it. All. Of. It. http://t.co/IcrbNn3qJI— Jose Rivera (@Jose8BS) April 19, 2015
And an inning later, Brad Miller roped a triple that scored Kyle Seager standing, aided by a little help from the Rangers' absolutely bone-jarring, spectacular defense:
Which brings me to the part that isn't as fun as all those others up there. I want you to notice something in that video, and that something is our glorious Carlos Peguero utterly mailing the relay throw off the toe (?) of Rougned Odor here, which just about bounced all the way back to the outfield wall where it landed in the first place. Now I'm no expert on baserunning protocol but the fact that bobble happened well before Miller started his head-down holy-shit-I-have-to-touch-the-bag slide really makes me wonder why third base coach Rich Donnelly was kneeling down looking for four leaf clovers in the infield dirt and not, you know, waving Miller home for what would have been an inside-the-park-home-run.
Now this is probably a bit unfair, because the Mariners were already up two runs and, well, a triple is a triple. And to be clear--caution is much preferred to violent and irresponsible waving as if your team would never score again, you know, just like Donnelly did in the first, sending Austin Jackson home after Robinson Cano walloped a one-out double to put runners on the corners for Nelson Cruz. He then flew out to end the inning, which could have scored Jackson from third for only the second out.
It would be utterly disingenuous to blame anything other than the Jackson snafu on Donnelly--including that Miller triple (but I wanted it so baaaaaadddd)--but the truth is that Mariners really blew it on the basepaths last night. Seager and Miller were each thrown out in the following innings, which would make sense if it was May and the Mariners offense was sputtering like a broken down steam engine but it is neither of those things. Lloyd loves his hit and run, we all know, but it was apparently on with Mike Zunino at the plate last night. Mike Zunino has the lowest contact rate in all of baseball at the moment. Let those two sentences sink in for just a second.
Still, a win is a win. And after the mess of last week, I think it would be safe to say that anyone would take a pinch of salt in the sugar if it means crawling back closer to .500 and then some. Whether the World Series-bound Mariners were awoken last night or a Seattle team snuck a win out of the bag is besides the point. Winning is winning is winning, and we get to hopefully do that with the dadliest of guts here in a few hours, so let's get to it.