I'll admit it, I miss living in the Bay Area quite a bit. That isn't to say I'd rather live there, but just that it is objectively a great place to spend time. Napa is so close, as well as Point Reyes, Big Sur, Yosemite, Tahoe, Redwood forests, Alameda, Half Moon Bay, the list goes on. It's a wonderful place to visit, if you've never been. On the water, right off of the Bay Bridge and I-80 is a ballpark named AT&T. It's a beautiful place that houses an incredibly successful franchise. It also happens to house one of the more insufferable fan bases of late. So screw them. Today, that team, those San Francisco Giants, lost.
Luckily enough for the Giants, Hisashi Iwakuma was really off his game today. It was a combination of factors, the first being that it was a really horrible day for anybody who had to toe the rubber. The air was dry and hot and the wind was blowing out. As well, Kuma suffered from a home plate umpire who appeared to be unwilling to call strikes on the outer half of the plate to lefties. The plan was for The Bear to go four innings, yet he had to leave after 54 pitches and just two and one-thirds innings. The third inning is where it all came apart. Already down 2-0 with Jeff "The Shark" Samardzija in opposition and looking up for the fight, Kuma gave up two doubles and two singles while recording a Hunter Pence fielder's choice and left the game with the M's down 4-0 early. He was clearly laboring and admitted after his start that he was annoyed by the zone he was dealing with and tired. Vidal Nuno came in and played his part. It was 5-0 entering the bottom of the 3rd.
But then something magical happened. Despite The Shark looking particularly bloodthirsty, there was blood of a different sort in the water. It was his own. Because, folks, remember that thing I said about the wind blowing out and the air being hot and bothered? Well, folks. The wind blows for both teams.
Just like that, with two separate swings of the bat from Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas, the M's leveled up at 5-5, and just like Lindsay Buckingham, we're never going back again. Cano would then triple and Chris Ianetta would single him home, and the Seattle Mariners opened the 4th inning up 6-5 over the SannyFranny Pipsqueaks. The Shark would stay in and pitch the 4th where Shawn O'Malley dusted him for another bomb on the right field berm. All totaled, the M's touched Shark for seven earned runs in four innings. Not a bad day in the Arizona sun.
The Mariners would go on to win the game backed by serviceable outings from Mayckol Guaipe, Mike Montgomery, Emilio Pagan (PROSPECT ALERT PEEWPEWW), and Casey Coleman. Franklin Guiterrez and Chris Ianetta would plate the final two runs for the M's in the 5th.
- The battle for the utility spot really looks to be coming down to a choice between a Sardi Party and O'Malley Cat. The nice part of this battle is that it isn't a battle of "who is better at being bad" but "damn you both deserve this". One of the more exciting position battles we've had in quite some time.
- Jerry Dipoto hopped on the broadcast to drop some knowledge, like that Tony Zych is a lock (we sorta figured at this point) for the bullpen. He did express worry that one more injury there means "trouble". Usually I love trouble. But not this time.
- We were treated to two hit days from Shawn O'Malley, Chris Ianetta, Leonys Martin, and Robbie Cano. Embrace a loved one.
- Nelson Cruz got his first hit of the Spring.
- Casey Coleman has a funky delivery, and as I stated earlier, is a name to keep as a darkhorse for the bullpen.