Imagine sailing across the Atlantic from Portugal. Actually, let's imagine something a little more fun. Imagine sailing from Miami to Antigua in like a 70-foot catamaran in mid-May. It would be an amazing journey filled with beautiful islands and sights. The water would be warm, hopefully you brought a little rum, and that boat is so large you'd have room for your favorite twelve people to be there. However, this journey would be sorta long. There would be days you'd find very boring, or even annoying, in retrospect. Maybe someone got a little nasty while playing board games. Backgammon can get ugly, no doubt. Not every day on that trip would be fantastic. Well, today Jared got a little mad while playing chess. And it is a shame, too. The Seychelles can be so peaceful.
In the context of a season where the M's had World Series contending aspirations, a 3-2 loss on a Monday night will go overlooked in October. If you believe this team could still make the playoffs, as I stupidly do, then games like tonight are just energy-sapping. The Seattle Mariners, so capable of rolling out a lefty-mashing lineup, did so tonight, and instead were, at one point in this contest, sat down thirteen times in a row.
Wei-Yin Chen had one of the best starts of his career*, locating his pitches everywhere that was not the middle of the plate, and had a little help from a low zone. He threw 110 pitches, 70 of them for strikes, and allowed only three hits over 7 1/3 innings. The M's opened their account early, with Kyle Seager barely missing a home run (eight inches more, man) in the bottom of the first, but Franklin Guiterrez actually popping a solo shot in the bottom of the second. That would be the only run the M's would score until the ninth.
For his part, Vidal Nuno pitched quite acceptably for a second spot start. If you are like some of us here at Lookout, and believe Nuno is one for the future in the starting rotation, an outing like this was certainly encouraging. Five innings of two-run ball while striking out five and surrendering just as many hits should get it done on most evenings for an offense like what the M's are capable of. Keeping in mind this was only his second spot-start for the club, one would hope that he can only build on a solid performance like this, managing to not walk anyone while also spreading out hits.
The long and straight of it is that this was a "floor" performance from the offense under current circumstances. Nine strike outs, three by Jesus Montero, and only five hits is a pretty abysmal performance. As I stated earlier, there was a point between a Nelson Cruz single in the fourth and a Mark Trumbo walk in the eighth where thirteen M's were sat down in a row. They had a chance to tie the game up in the bottom of the ninth when Guti doubled with two outs, took third on a passed ball, and scored on a dropped third strike to Austin Jackson. Montero came up, representing the winning run at the plate, and proceeded to strike out on three straight pitches. The first pitch was right here:
The next two were lower, and swung at.
What I really want to get to is the biggest issue this game brought forward. There are literally tens of fans who come to the game ill-prepared to catch a home run ball. Now, I could get in to how weird I think it is that any time a baseball that simply just says "Major League Baseball" on it flies in to the stands is fought for by adults, but that is for a differe...Yeah, I'll go in on that right now, actually. Did you know that "MLB" lettering wears off in like, five seconds? You could have seventeen baseballs that you "got at a game" but really nobody would know because they don't even have the proof of the lettering anymore. Did you know that a small child will have a way cooler memory attached to it if they receive said-ball? Did you also know that if you fight over a ball in the stands a camera is FOR SURE on you and now you look like a total ass? Anyway, catching a home run, straight up, NO BOUNCES, is pretty bad ass. Barehanded, yeah I'll give you that, good job. You rock. You brought a glove? Still cool...but if you DO NOT catch a ball and are wearing a glove, you have to leave the stadium. That is the contract you signed by using one hand of your two for a baseball glove while at a game you are not playing in.
Tonight we saw two attempted catches, both with a hat. What I want you to know is that this is an extremely difficult means of catching a ball. Hats are for showing loyalty and concealing bald-spots, not grabbing a 95 mph screamer off the bat of Chris Davis. You would be better off using two hands than your hat. See?
Yep. And wait for it, because one of those guys did not learn the lesson.
Making the same mistake twice is the definition of idiocy. Two people should have lost hats tonight in lieu of having "stinging palms". Let those palms sting. It's baseball season, folks. We have a softball game coming up.