I am a firm believer in starting off with the bad news. See, to say something positive and then blindside it all a few moments later completely defeats the purpose of sharing good news, unless you just like the taste of ink I guess. The right way to do this is to drop a bomb, let it sit for a minute, and then massage the whole thing with some flowers and sunshine to take everyone's mind off whatever horrible fact about our anxiety-ridden modernity was just articulated.
So to start out this whole recap about last night's baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, I'm going to just go straight for the ugly. Bad news first. You don't really get a say. Okay, so here goes. The bad news about this here baseball game was that, um...well, the thing is that, uh
dammit, this isn't really working. And here I thought we were talking about a Mariners baseball game! Alright something bad, let's see...7-2 victory, great sliding catch from Dustin Ackley to save a run late in the game, eight strikeouts by J.A. Happ, the return of Tom Wilhelmsen, um...Ah, here we go: Look at how much the universe hates this team, when they can't even get balls called when pitches are up near their heads!
Yeah, I admit I have just about nothing. I suppose if we wanted to continue our customary nihilism here we could talk about the fact that Danny Farquhar is probably broken, but even that feels a bit strange after the Mariners just walloped the (now second worst in the AL) A's in a game that really only contained the usual amount of stress and/or doubt for about thirty seven minutes.
There was a single by Marcus Semien in the first inning, and then a wild pitch by Happ that struck out Billy Butler but still sent him to first base to be worried about. Then, after getting out of the inning, Seth Smith and Brad Miller both grounded out as they are wont to do now with uniforms that say "Mariners" on them. But then a switch was flipped and there was no looking back.
It's not just that a victory over a division rival is a good counter to "bad news," and not just that the Mariners enter today with a chance to sweep the A's to be only three games under .500. Hell, it has nothing to do with the fact that Lloyd McClendon just earned his 100th win as skipper of the M's, because that's mathematically on the list of Things to Expect as a Second Year Manager, sandwiched between finally remembering that one newspaper guy's name and getting another hat.
I guess the good news in its most abstract is that yes, the Mariners won. But a week ago the Mariners had just been swept by the Houston Astros, and Dominic Leone and Tyler Olson seemed to be the biggest one-two punch ready to plow through that upcoming Angels lineup with names like "Trout" and "Pujols" on it. Well now they have been replaced by a 97-mph throwing 31-year old Mark Lowe (??????????), a bartender, and Wolverine. Even if those three didn't combine for four strikeouts and three hits over three innings it would be good news.
But in a different sense, the good news is simply the affective experience of watching the Mariners competently beat another baseball team for a change of pace. Or that these recent wins could literally have not come at a better time. Sure, the fact that four of the M's seven runs came from the result of creative fielding by the A's could be read as less exciting, but hell, even if none happened they still would have won this game by a run. There are worse ways to stumble into Felix Day, my friends. Onto some bullets.
- J.A. Happ continues to be the unseen hero of this young 2015 season. Oddly, Lloyd pulled him in the sixth because he had been starting to miss up and away with a pitch count sailing above 90. In the post-game press conference, Lloyd admitted that he is sure missing up and away is the key indicator of tiring, which kind of makes you think for a minute. But then followed that claim with an "I have to manage for a season," and then you stop to think about the fact that the Mariners blew out the A's anyway, and also that the starting pitching has basically been Happ and Felix huddled together on a makeshift raft floating down shit river and I think they got the right man for the job. In any case, Lloyd was probably right--Happ was starting to labor in the fifth and walked two before giving up a run. He later said that "(he) didn't have (his) stuff," that he was "battling to try and minimize the damage." If this is not having stuff then we need to christen an annual Chris Young Didn't Have His Stuff But Still Saved Everyone's Collective Ass award and give it to the guy.
- You will look at the lower middle of the order and wonder why Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison combined for zero hits, and you will wonder if that is something more than a fluke. You would be silly to do so because it is more than a fluke, and also because Logan Morrison had two walks and reached second on an error that scored a run. You will also not ask why I didn't include Mike Zunino in that first sentence until you realize that it's kind of self explanatory why I didn't include Mike Zunino, and then you will realize that that also tells you all you need to know about a game in which Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison go hitless back-to-back.
- The BraDH Miller experiment hasn't been off to a perfectly seamless start. Last night he struck out twice with a walk, and while the whole field-to-the-bat thing seems all too random to quantify, it also kind of...well...makes a notable effect. Cruz's split slash lines between games in the field and games DHing. Brad's noted frustration at losing the left side of the infield shouldn't open any conspiracy doors to poor performance as a DH--besides, he's rumored to be getting outfield time as soon as today, and don't forget that double on Friday--but it will be interesting to keep an eye on his performance at the plate as all this goes forward.
- Something may be wrong with Nelson Cruz. It has been over four days since Cruz has hit a home run, and last night his RBI double didn't skyrocket through the air on fire while sending ripples through the space-time continuum as much as it just went really fast towards the ground. If Cruz doesn't hit a home run today, it will be his longest drought all season, and time for a reality check. Has it been worth it? Was four years too much? What were they thinking?
All in all a great game, and hopefully one we will forget about in a matter of days because the Mariners are winning even more. That's certainly something to smile about, even if your name is Dustin Ackley! Ha, just kidding, we all know that would never happen...even if...oh no...
I think I've found the bad news.
I don't think that's Dustin Ackley.
Guys, I think something has happened to Dustin Ackley.
when he comes to kill us all let it be known that I've always been on his side.