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Winning pitcher Fernando Rodney tries to lose game for Mariners, Kyle Seager says Nah

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The Mariners narrowly defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6 in extras on Tuesday, after Kyle Seager hits two home runs including the club's first grand slam since 2013.

a bloomquistus for the restivus
a bloomquistus for the restivus
Cliff McBride/Getty Images

On one hand, you could choose to be upset. I really wouldn't blame you. I mean, you can't always choose to be upset, despite whatever your even-keeled grandma told you way back when you were a little kid, and I don't really care how much wisdom they've tried to convince us the Olds have.

That's because the truth of the matter is that sometimes things happen a certain way that require you to respond with intense emotional tumult. Receiving the wrong order in the fast-food drive thru. Returning to get the right order, and then feeling like a wet sock the next day because you ate fast food you idiot, won't you ever learn? Or hell, we could even bring up that satanic "Tubular" level in the godforsaken Special World section of Super Mario World that was designed by a bunch of people that should probably be put in jail for the rest of their goddamn lives right next to the person that invented those plastic seals on the edge of electronics packaging and Adam Levine from Maroon 5.

Now unlike these examples I just listed which force you to respond irrationally, tonight you actually have a choice on how to react to this here Mariners victory, which was their 22nd win of the season that brought them within a single game of .500. You could:

  1. Spittle and spout in rage over the fact that Fernando Rodney entered a 6-3 game against his former team only to give up back to back singles to David DeJesus and Brandon Guyer before plunking Joey Butler, and  then coming within a foot of a walk off grand slam off the bat of Evan Longoria only to finally escape after resetting the game on an errant throw by Robinson Cano that shouldn't have even happened in the first place.
  2. Bite your tongue and point out that the Mariners were in line to lose the game before Kyle Seager hit his grand slam in the eighth, and then thank your lucky stars they have such a wonderful home-grown player on their roster that hit yet another dinger in extras to win it for the good guys and holy shit, we have a Boss.
  3. Realize that literally nothing that just happened on your television actually effects your life in any material way, and just be thankful that you have enough money to pay your internet bill and still have enough time to check the scores of a meaningless baseball game a few hours after it ended. Hey, there's that new Doc Ellis doc on Netflix you could watch! Why are all these people complaininganyway, I mean, we're all going to die anyway! I bet you're a real fucking blast at parties.

I mean, look. You can do whatever you want to do, it's your call. But the fact of the matter is that the Mariners won this here baseball game tonight, and in the process tied their record from last year on the same day, drawing to within a single game of .500 in a month that feels like they should be so, so much deeper in the hole. The other fact of the matter is that Fernando Rodney's blown save, despite being only his second of the season, was not random luck stabilizing itself, and was instead indicative of a problem for a team that needs to be serious about what they are going to do in the next couple of months.

I'm not calling for a demotion of Fernando Rodney, even though the fist-shaped hole in my wall may argue for just that. No. See, Rodney is....well...Rodney. His walk rate is right in line with last year, his strikeout rate has only dropped 5%, and his velocity is virtually untouched despite the fact that he's basically Raul Ibanez with a mean changeup and a little more facial hair. Batters are swinging at his pitches in the zone at nearly the exact same percentage as last year, 57%, and actually missing strikes more than any season since he was a reliever in Detroit in 2008.

The problem with Rodney is not that he's an unreliable pitcher that needs to lose his job, if the job of "proven closer" is something he should have ever held in the first place--it's that he somehow trots out these seemingly unsustainable WHIPs and ERAs while closing out the great majority of his games and making the whole thing look like a damned joke in the process to everyone except your blood pressure. The problem is not that he repeatedly shits the bed and blows games for the M's, its that we remember the Night Court game and blown saves like tonight, and are already tearing down the Christmas decorations before he even enters the game in the first place. I mean, once your dog throws up in the car, you'll never get him in there again. Just try, you think I'm kidding.

Now I still stand by what I said earlier--that the Mariners need to be serious about what they are going to do about this bullpen in the months to come. Last year's unsustainable 'pen has already been broken up with the shipping off of Medina and the demotions of Leone and Farquhar. And maybe I just don't get the intangible baseball things that those who have lived their lives inside clubhouses get, but the fact of the matter is that Lloyd needs to be more willing to get people warming up when Rodney starts to dig himself a hole. Confidence be damned.

And sure, I get it--he skirts the edge so much but so often pitches out that you can't always jump the gun if you want to have a single arm still attached to a reliever's body come September. But Rodney's a big boy, and if having Joe Beimel warming up when the bases are loaded with no outs in the ninth is enough to rattle the confidence of a 39 year old professional baseball player, then what in God's name is he doing closing baseball games?

That's just enough whining and bitching for one recap. I mean hey, the Mariners won! Kyle Seager is better than you at baseball! He's also better than Jake McGee:

This was the Mariners' first grand slam since one off the bat of Brad Miller in late 2013. McGee was having his fair share of trouble this inning, giving up a single to pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks before watching Cano and Cruz reach base on a single and error, respectively. But the weird part is that he seemed to be in pretty good command of the inning despite his result. Take a look at this at-bat to Nelson Cruz, which loaded the bases for Seager after Nick Franklin bobbled it since it was traveling over 2,370 miles per hour:

cruzerror

On one hand, this reads holy crap the Rays are terrified of Nelson Cruz, but you absolutely can't blame them because he's hitting .500 against lefties this season. This is as safe as you can get without flat-out walking the guy, and he was even able to get Cruz down 1-2 while painting the edges with some heat. It was partly luck that this didn't turn out better for the Rays. This, on the other hand, was exactly the opposite of luck:

seaghr

I mean, obviously this was a mistake. But it just seems...well...bizarre following that at-bat from Nelson Cruz, which reads to me like a pitcher who knows exactly where his pitches are going to end up. All he had to do was throw this ball literally anywhere besides where he did. So let's take a look!

Interestingly, Jake McGee started his windup pretty quick here, but look were Rays catcher Rene Rivera sets up (and this is as close as he even came to jabbing a target, as McGee's already halfway through his windup:

mcgee1

And, where the pitch was hit:

mcgee2

Certainly a difference, but this was probably no nibbler on the edge of the zone, if that first screengrab was even a target for McGee to hit. If anything, Seager his lefties better lower in the zone in the first place, and when you set up here and give yourself a few inches of a margin of error that end up right smack dab in the center lane of i5, well...I'm not going to exactly say you tried to avoid it.

After Seager's dinger and Rodney's meltdown, the Mariners did their best impression of a rudderless ship floating in a swimming pool filled with Jello as Nelson Cruz singled before promptly being thrown out trying to steal second only a second later. Lloyd denied all responsibility in his post-game media availability, but it sure would have been nice having him on base when Seager hit another dinger for his 6th RBI of the game in the same damn at bat. But if this is the worst thing we have to say this season about the current league-leader in dingers, ISO, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, votes for AL DH All Star, and eyebrow game of the entire Pacific Coast, then, well, I don't know what you have to be so upset about.

Like I said, you have a choice tonight. It's up to you how you want to take all this, and while it's only a matter of time until Fernando Rodney is prying off your fingernails with a rusty set of pliers dipped in molasses, I'd advise looking for the forest from the trees. I mean, to hell with it, save some of that energy for the fact that Rodney got the win tonight.

And as they say,

goms.