The good news is it doesn't matter. The gooder news is that they barely, barely held on to a late lead before the latest off-Broadway show, Steve Cishek and the 91 MPH Fastball, made its way through Peoria's independent theater district. But before we get to that, let's retrace our steps from the beginning.
Wade Miley was...fine today, throwing in six innings of three-run ball with five--five!--strikeouts. I suppose five Ks in six isn't all that surprising, but with Carson Smith getting to know the ins and outs of an MRI machine more and more these days you really have to be shocked this turned out the way it did. Miley ran into a bit of trouble in the first, giving up three singles and a double in the first five batters he faced. But then he hunkered down, found his shit, and started slicing the zone up pretty well.
This is going to be my fourth year writing about baseball, and while I can't give you the kind of mathematical analysis that a Jeff Sullivan can, or a Jake or a Brendan, all I can say is that Miley reminds me so much of Jason Vargas. Maybe it's the lefty thing, maybe it's the body type, whatever. But the thing is that you would never find some just Rembrandtesque strikeout from Vargas to cut out and frame up here as an example of The Game Done Right. You'd watch him last anywhere between five and seven innings after 90 pitches and you'd be frankly surprised he racked up half a dozen strikeouts in the process. Today, Miley threw 89, struck out five, and managed his eight hits quite well, first inning aside.
The M's answered the Dodgers in the first pretty quick with a sequence that just, I...well okay look I don't think this team is going to be good this year but when you can have, to open the game, in succession, a leadoff double from Ketel Marte and then a triple from Kyle Seager, especially when they aren't even going to be hitting there in the regular season, then well, you have to feel pretty good.
The Dodgers picked up another run in the fourth after a six-pitch walk to Brandon Hicks came back to bite Miley in the ass. But the M's were quick to get back on the board in the fifth once Scott Kazmir was pulled for Adam Liberatore, who sounds like he should be in Steve Cishek's aforementioned piece of theatre. I mean, tell me this isn't just cut and pasted from Arthur Miller or something:
So, holy shit, we need to talk about this. Here are my immediate reactions:
- Ketel Marte is really, really fast
- Ketel Marte is also a smart baserunner. In the second half of the video you can see his trip around the bases--he is giving about 80% right out of the box, and, this is important, starts to round each base a good ten feet before just in case he needs to keep going. That's smart.
- Peoria's centerfield sits at 410 feet. Safeco's outfield wall is a mess of distances, but its left-center to center wall sits anywhere between 378 and 401 feet. As with most, if not all in the park homeruns, this starts with a misplayed catch. But the way the ball rolls after the misplay is crucial--look at how far the left fielder has to run to get to this ball once the catch has failed: