It was a brief moment, a passing thing in the middle of a waning and tiring battle. Without so much as a tip of his cap, an adjustment of his armor, our King became our greatest hero. All great heroes never mind their own dominance. It comes to them with the sort of nonchalance that a deep breath comes to us after we have run some short distance. I hate walking up stairs. In the fifth inning, Felix Hernandez surpassed Jamie Moyer on the all-time innings count for Mariners' pitchers. Our greatest King, likely knowing the accomplishment, made sure not to show so.
It has come to be so commonplace, so usual. Felix has dazzled us so many evenings over the past decade that a performance like tonight failed to register on his own, personal Richter scale. He came one out from pitching seven full innings, walked one, struck out four, and allowed two earned runs on five hits. Felix had his typical, dominant stuff, but dealt with a strikezone that was...inconsistent at best. The corners of the zone were called and not called and then REALLY called and then not again. That sentence should read just about as confusing as the zone felt. The only inning that Felix ran in to any trouble was in the second, when the strikezone felt tighter than later in the game. Adrian Beltre walked on full-count on a ball that was certainly, in some cases, strike three. To which Carlos Peguero, with Beltre stealing, laced a double in to CF. Peggy doubled off of Felix. There's a joke there but I can't find it. Beltre came around to score and Felix was visibly displeased with his zone. Despite the die being cast against him, he struck out Kyle Blanks like this:
Yeah, he's still dirty. He played with Blanks all night, and struck him out twice. This is what a lion is wont to do to a lamb.
A second run would score in the 2nd inning off of a Carlos Corporan "Please, don't hurt me" swing that dropped in to left field that would push Peggy across from 3rd. This would be the only scoring the Rangers would do all evening. Two runs that evened the score at 2-2 in the 2nd.
On the Mariners side of the ball, there was worry we may fall subject to the classic lack of chance taking that we have become so sadly accustomed to when our King has taken the hill. In three separate innings the Mariners had the bases loaded, in total we would score only three runs from these three separate scenarios. One in the 2nd off of a Zunino groundball, double play that would score Rickie Weeks, and two runs off of a Logan Morrison "double" down the right field line in the 5th.
The other run scored in this game was Robinson Cano in the 9th inning off a passed ball.
"But, David, I'm a huge nerd who checks like three different baseball score sites before coming to LL to read the recap and the scorebox shows the M's winning 5-2."
Well, stop being so dang impatient, Poindexter. Nelson Cruz did this to a baseball and I bet in some countries it's a crime.
Stat Cast had that ball at 483 ft. A true upper decker. To have power and wield it with such demonstration and restraint. Were it so easy.
So the Mariners won 5-2 over the Texas Rangers. The first sweep in Arlington since 2002 when Moyer and Halama both toed the rubber for the M's. The King reigns.
- Felix Hernandez has thrown more innings as a Mariner than any other pitcher of the Seattle Mariners. A decade goes by fast. Hey, Time, you're kind of blowing my mind right now.
- Willie Bloomquist and Rickie Weeks are going to have a stern arm-wrestle tonight as WFB sold Weeks out not once, but twice trying to score from third on a week groundout to short.
- Prince Fielder did not show up to Spring Training in the best shape of his life. But my gollygosh he tries when he runs to first. I wish Robinson Cano would learn from this.
- I had an alliteration about Wandy Rodriguez lined up about wondering and wandering and being wild. It wasn't great. You're welcome for the exclusion, but you're also welcome to try make it work!
- Wandy also wears his hat like that square kid from "Rollie Polie Olie".