Well what we had here was the New York Yankees Vs. Mike Montgomery and Kyle Seager. The Mariners, fresh off a tongue lashing from their manager, came to New York and just generally spent 9 innings swinging at everything Masahiro Tanaka threw at the plate, barring the occasional strike down the middle of the plate. Here's his pitch chart, courtesy of Brooks:
Some notes here:
- Note that for the most part Dr. Quinn Wolcott called a solid zone. Balls in the zone were called strikes, those outside called balls.
- Next please note all of those red dots in or around the middle of the strike zone that indicate pitches in the strike zone that were not swung at. Let me be clear:
- Now you'll also note all those blue dots outside the strike zone. Those indicate pitches swung at that resulted in outs. Those are bad and the Mariners did that a lot tonight (and most nights to be honest). Again, let's skip a thousand words:
So it was bad process and deservedly bad result. And Lloyd new it right away! At least, his face said he did.
So originally I was going to gloss over this. Mistakes happen. Once I tried to pay for my King-sized chicken sandwich meal at Burger King at the drive-thru and I smacked my hand and my debit card fell between my window and the sealing rubber, trapping the card in the car door. I did not get to eat that sandwich. Stuff happens.
But part of leadership is owning up to mistakes and after the game, whether honestly or dishonestly, McClendon defended his decision:
Beimel/Arod was the matchup McClendon wanted in the 7th. Beimel said he just didn't execute the pitch. Sinker didn't sink.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) July 18, 2015
I am, or at least largely have been, a pretty big fan of Lloyd McClendon but that's a bad look. Setting up a player to fail and not taking ownership of it is the kind of thing that can erode a clubhouse, which has been one of McClendon's strongest traits.
Of course in the 9th the Mariners had to give you one final tease. With 2 outs Mark Trumbo ripped a line drive down the left field line. The ball appeared to be headed toward the corner but Brett Gardner reminded us that non-right-handed-power-hitting-outfielders are people too with a terrific sliding stop to hold Trumbo to a single. With Andrew Miller on the mound and Brad Miller due up Lloyd went to Jesus Montero, and the team was given approximately its 2,056th chance to create an indelible moment. But instead Jesus Montero just kind of hung out and swung at some balls.
It was an appropriately feeble effort for what was largely an unacceptable performance from the team. No one loss defines a season, as no one day defines a life. However on July 17th this felt as good a cover for the 2015 Mariner Yearbook as any. Tick tock fellas.
A few bulletpoints because everything is NOT in fact shit:
- Kyle Seager is doing that thing he does every year where he spends 20-30 games as one of baseball's very best players. Coming into tonight Seager was OPS'ing .868 in July. After swatting two home runs tonight that is going to go up. Today's outburst has his wRC+ on the year at a very Seager-like 117.
Every year Seager goes through streaks where it appears he's finally going to turn into the pumpkiny utility infielder he always seems so destined to be. But Seager has made a career out crapping all over people's limited expectations of him. Regardless of the wins and losses he'll be a reason to keep watching.
- Speaking of continuing to reshape the narrative of your own story Mike Montgomery again was outstanding, if imperfect. Facing a Yankee lineup stacked with right-handed power hitters Montgomery went 6 innings, gave up 3 runs, walked 3 and struck out 9. Montgomery beautifully worked both sides of the plate, pounding right-handed hitters inside with a cutter to get ahead before deploying the changeup as his own personal Avada Kedavra. Of the 9 changeups Montgomery threw 8 were swung at and 5 missed.
Today I spent 1600 words adding coal to the fire underneath Jack's seat. But if 2015 is his Waterloo we will miss his front office's ability to find and get the most out of overlooked starting pitchers. Mike Montgomery looks every bit a mid-rotation fixture for years to come. Good job Jack and Co.