I like history. I enjoy the treasure hunt of figuring out how rare or common a present day occurrence is. I find the memory touchstone that looking at a 20 year box score provides to be self-improving. It's not really nostalgia, but a reminder of where and who I have been, and where I hope to go.
The Mariners have been tortured over and over and over by the Chicago White Sox over the years. A quick look shows only 4 wins in Chicago this decade and the oh-god-pass-the-Smirnoff, Brandon League-fueled nightmare of 2010-12, where the Mariners went a combined 4-24. If you could weaponize all the joy the Mariners have given Hawk Harrelson over the years you could destroy Pluto.
Coming into today's game provided the Mariners a unique and rare opportunity. With a victory they would claim a series win in a 4 game series at Chicago. That hasn't happened since August of 2000, with Joel Pineiro, Freddy Garcia and Aaron Sele getting the wins. The last win came, in part, due to Joe Oliver's 7th home run of the season, which helped push his OPS to .866. What a different era.
As August winds down and the dog days stretch in front of you as a writer you really just try to find anything to get excited about game to game, day to day. Today it was that, and it was contingent about the Mariners winning. Which they very easily could have done. This is a more talented team than the White Sox, and thanks to Kyle Seager's 2nd straight day with a 2 run home run in the 1st the team spotted Edgar Olmos a lead before he ever touched the rubber.
Then? They threw it away. First, after a leadoff walk Adam Eaton reached third when Olmos' pick off throw was simply missed by Logan Morrison. It was difficult to tell what happened on the play and ROOT never really showed a replay. Blowers pointed out that a large group of white hats behind third may have made the ball difficult to see, which, sure. But later in the inning on a routine ground ball to short Brad Miller, who had his own special time today, triple clutched while waiting for Morrison simply to get to first base. Even after that he wasn't able to find the bag. It was inexplicable.
I have no idea, you guys. We all have bad days I suppose. But that's as basic and weird a fundamental breakdown from a first baseman as I can remember seeing. The run made it 2-1 Mariners.
Shortly after all this nonsense Austin Jackson, who hears me hating, crushed a two run home run to right center field. Now Comiskey Park's dimensions were designed after the ball park in Williamsport and cheap home runs in the stadium are commonplace. But this still served as Jacksons 1st opposite field home run in a Mariner uniform and 1st overall since 2013. So, good job Austin. Felix, break it down for us would you?
Unrelated but equally important is how god damn handsome Franklin Gutierrez is without even trying:
So it was 4-1 and everything was cool but, well, Edgar Olmos walked 5 and only struck out 2 but somehow got through 5 innings with a 4-3 lead. But from there it was up to the Mariners bullpen, which is bad. In the bottom of the 7th poor Mayckol Guaipe had Melky Cabrera down 0-2. John Hicks called for the ball away, because it's difficult to hit baseballs outside the strike zone with authority:
But somewhere a few synapses fired a few milliseconds too late and Guaipe's muscle memory was just off enough and well:
That baseball was hit very, very far and it was 4-4. From there it was the Only Two Mariners Worth A Damn Today Ausin Jackson and Kyle Seager combining a triple and a double into a lead in the 8th. Carson Smith came on with an out in the 8th for the long save and looked as good as he has in awhile, walking no one and striking out three. But, this is the Mariners and so of course the tying run was on 2nd in the 9th with one out. Pinch hitter Carlos Sanchez hit a ground ball up the middle, Brad Miller range to his left and just go look at the very beginning of this article to guess what happened. Ok, fine, don't scroll. Here's another look:
Here's the whole play. A few thoughts:
- It's important to say that I'm a big fan of Brad Miller. Before this season started I was adamant that he was by far the best option this team had at short stop. I love his bat, his athleticism and his 2015 walk rate. He's a very talented, intriguing toolsy player.
- Look where Sanchez was when the, very rushed, throw went past Logan Morrison.
That's two full steps to the bag. Miller's feet were a mess, he doesn't look comfortable for a second through the entire play, and that scattershot arm resurfaced at the absolute worst time.
- This isn't just a random thing. We've seen Miller do this enough to know that, while not Marcus Semien, Miller is never going to visually inspire confidence at short stop. This play is one that the majority of major league shortstops make. The majority that don't at least have the presence of mind to eat the throw, keep the tying run at third and live for another batter. It's poor mechanics and poor situational awareness. It's the Bad Miller. Rad Miller is there too. But not today.