It was time. It was time for a break. The Mariners' season began bearing the weight of expectations unlike anything similar to what a sizable portion of the team's fanbase has ever experienced. Over the first 31 games of the season 71% of them have been decided by 2 or fewer runs. Of the 9 decided by more than 2 runs only 3 have been in Mariner victories.
These close games are a terrible, ulcer-inducing experience. They are the ghosts of both Baseball Past and Baseball Future. Each loss by a razor's edge calls to mind last year's near miss, and the thought of missing again brings another year of decline to Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, not to mention yet another of the team, of us letting down Felix. We are stuck in time, we Mariner fans. We cannot revel in the past and the future portends potential unknown calamity. We have only now, 2015. It is an excruciating feeling.
So it was time for a whoopie cushion of a game. It was time for the Mariners to blow open to a big lead, led by Kyle Seager taking Ian Kennedy to the place of immediate and sharp regret:
Seager's blast was only the beginning. There were many, many, many things that happened in this game, some of which I will hopefully touch on* before I gratefully surrender my body to sleep but the overriding storyline was that the Mariners spent 9 innings destroying the baseball.
In the 3rd Logan Morrison hit a solo shot about 2 feet farther than the one Mike Trout took away on Opening Day. Morrison now has a 105 wRC+ and that is including a .488 OPS in April. He has a .395 OBP this month and that is with a .250 BABIP. This is because, right now, Logan Morrison is hitting the piss/snot/hell out of the danged baseball.
Log. Log away, friend dog.
In the 6th old friend Shawn Kelley threw a 2 strike slider to Mike Zunino. He may not have worried too much about it. Mike Zunino struggles with pitches around ______, particularly _______ types of pitches. But today Mike Zunino is the monkey, the bat is his typewriter and this swing was his Shakespeare:
442 feet to dead center field. The longest ball hit today by a professional human baseball player.
An inning later, after San Diego used the ever spiraling Danny Farquhar to draw within 4 at 7-3 Mike Zunino faced Frank Garces. Like the inning previous Zunino had 2 strikes. Like the inning previous he received a baseball pitch from a professional pitcher. Like the previous inning he did very, very unkind things to it.
An out later Justin Ruggiano lined a Garcia pitch into the bullpen and then, in the 8th the Alpha got tired of all the wolves getting fed without him:
It was time for this. It was time for the shortcomings and imperfections of the team's pitching staff (9 walks) to just not matter for a night. We needed an evening of spectacle and carefree giddiness to blow off some steam. It isn't predictive in any meaningful way. The only other time the Mariners hit 6 home runs at Safeco here are the players that did it: Olivo (x2), Bocachica, J Lopez, Boone, Player A.
This was the 2012 San Diego Fireworks. Just so many damn explosions you can't hear, think or imagine anything else. It was a break from what's felt a lot like work at times so far this year. Let's hope for more regular days off in the future.