The result of today's game will likely not go down in history as the most memorable event to occur on August 28th, 2015. No, on a day that involved a front office shake up, and many new questions spawned, the Seattle Mariners still played a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox. There will be weeks and months full of rumors both great and worrisome but it is important to consider that for a few of those coming weeks, baseball will still be played. Today's game was indicative of the mood of the franchise. The game never felt like the focus even during the game.
A 2-0 win is a rare one for the 2015 Seattle Mariners. Lately the pitching has been in shambles while the offense has found a way to ramp it up. Don't worry, the Mariners didn't flip the script too much, going 0-1000 with RISP tonight, but a win was a welcome night cap for an otherwise confusing day. U.S. Cellular Field has a history with this organization for being a black hole of oddities and usually horrors but we may have avoided anything of that nature today.*
The most outstanding performance of the evening likely belongs to Taijuan Walker, who went 6 1/3 innings while allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out six. Tai topped his fastball out at 96 MPH and was working his fastball command well enough to let his secondary offerings do the dirty deeds they are capable of. What is more of note is that Tai was not pulled for losing command or becoming errant, but for a hip cramp. Hip cramps suck and make walking sort of a drag. Sometimes they turn you in to a kid just playing in the sand.
The sixth turned in to a bit of its own hell when the bases were loaded with one out and Carson Smith pitching, but a 5-1-3 double play got the Mariners out of the trouble. Yes, you read that right. The Seattle Mariners somehow escaped a troubling inning while turning to their bullpen.
On the offensive side of the ball, there really was not much of note from this game. It was a ten hit night from the Boys from Sodo with Kyle Seager and Franklin Gutierrez both having three hits, and Logan Morrison and Austin Jackson with two hits apiece. The only scoring was done in the top of the sixth when Kyle lifted a long solo shot to right and two batters later, Guti did the same but to left. In the 8th Guti would leave the game standing on second base after being hit by a pitch in the knee. It seemed totally precautionary and you should not panic.
In relief, Carson Smith pitched both the 7th and 8th and Tom Wilhelmsen came in to close the 9th, using that trademark, nasty curve to offset his mid-90s fastball. It was a solid win and really nothing else can be said of it but that. The lack of clutch hitting was not the curse of Jack Zduriencik. It was still there.
On to the random observations:
- If you are the sort of person who keeps track of these things (what an idiot you must be), the M's need to go 23-10 the rest of the way to make the projected second wild card.
- Nelson Cruz ended his 37 game on-base streak going 0-5 tonight.
- Within an hour Tai, Carson, and Guti had been hit by balls thrown or batted by the White Sox. U.S. Celluar is a hell hole.
- It seemed fitting that on the day of his exit, one of the only Jack Z high draft picks showed his talent yet again. Tai may be a star, folks.
- Two more games and we are outta Chicago. Do whatever voodoo things you are keen to perform to protect us from harm.