Well just like they wrote it up, the Mariners walked away from O.co this afternoon with a win over the Athletics, raising their record to 38-44 and thankfully, staving off a downward spiral that would have seen them right down there in the gutter of the AL West, kicking with the sewage and everything. I mean seriously, after that loss last night, did you expect anything different?
This afternoon took a hot minute to see any action, but it all started off slow with Mike Montgomery once again doing his thing against an A's lineup simultaneously dangerous and brittle as tissue paper. After giving up a single to Ben Zobrist in the first, Montgomery settled right in and locked his eyes onto the zone like it was the only thing standing between him and his third consecutive complete game shutout. And in a way, it was. That's because Montgomery was simultaneously throwing random shit up and around that little invisible box like this:
And like this
all for the same result. I mean, that first image you see is what Mike Montgomery did to a professional baseball player with a 2015 wOBA of .358, and an insanely unsustainable wRC+ of 134. And Stephen Vogt? Well, Montgomery was just following the scouting report, except he followed the scouting report with 90mph, a moving 87mph, 92mph, and then a very moving 76mph. What you are looking at in these pictures is a pitcher who has better stuff than command, who is able to fool batters because the book isn't out on him yet but is nonetheless, reveling in this, his time to shine. You only have to wonder what it's going to be like when the rest of the league catches up with him.
Someone like, oh, I don't know, Sam Fuld. Like, lets just suppose that Sam Fuld hits his first home run of the season off Mike Montgomery this afternoon, that it was more a mistake than a countered approach, that it was just his luck catching up to him. Let's suppose that, and let's also suppose that this home run would come seconds after ROOT put up a graphic oogling over MiMo's possible 3-game shutout streak, ruined by the most unlikely of causes.
Let's suppose that, and then ask ourselves how this young pitcher would respond to a little bad luck. How he would approach a team that was beginning to jump on him and punish his mistakes. An aggressive team tasting a run like that first sip of water after a day's worth of labor under the sun. How would this green rookie respond?
It's kind of hard to see, but this is a GIF of Montgomery throwing his beautiful high curve...well...sort of just over there or so. He's actually pretty damn close to where Zunino has him spotted up, but the point is that this curve moves so much that Billy Burns has no choice but to roll over on it, weakly bouncing it to an awaiting Seager ready to throw him out at first. And this is something that is going to make Montgomery so special if he can keep up with himself--he's never going to survive on his power or somewhat spotty command, but as long as you can throw junk like this up there with relative control, then you've got at least a spot on some 25 man roster out there.
But like yesterday, the Mariners were having their fair share of trouble helping Montgomery out on the top end of each inning. That is, until the sixth inning, which saw the Mariners fall back with two quick outs before Robinson Cano took a bouncy pitch off the back of his right foot. He was fine, thankfully, and most definitely fine enough to be able to book it for third after Cruz rocketed a double up the middle of the field, putting two runners on in scoring position for Seth Smith, former A and just about the only person you wanted up to bat who had yet to bat in the inning.
It took him six pitches, but it would be all the Mariners would need, as he met a slider right on the corner of the plate to put two runs across the board, two runs that surely felt like they had been all but handed to the powerhouse Mariners, a club that was definitely not worrying about how the hell they were going to start scoring more or anything:
sliding into your dm's like pic.twitter.com/8qCo7a6xkT— Jose Rivera (@notjoserivera) July 5, 2015
Me too, Nelson.
The Mariners were able to hang on for the rest of the game, thanks in part to an oddly rejuvenated Mark Lowe who continues to impress, and a juvenated Joe Beimel, who continues to have interesting facial hair and is probably a fun person to talk to in the dugout, especially after he handily gets three contact outs. What we will not be doing, now, is talking about what happened with Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning.
No, we will not be doing that. We will not be noting that Fernando Rodney stole two quick outs from Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler, and then threw two immediate strikes to Josh Reddick to inch the Mariners to 60 feet and 6 from a win. We will not talk about what happened next because the Mariners did win. They won, and they continue to employ two pitchers named Fernando Rodney and Carson Smith, and we should just be thankful that our beautiful stadium doesn't leak human feces out from the dugouts. Yes, yes we shall do that.
Tomorrow the M's return home to Safeco and look to take a few from a Tigers club that is without Miguel Cabrera. It's hot as hell, and the baseballs will actually be flying. It's obvious to say it could be better, but really, really, it could be a whole lot worse. Now close your computer and watch the USA ladies win the soccer game already.