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Mariners squeak one past the Dodgers, 7-6

Ketel Marte hits an Angel Paganer, and Steve Cishek activates the Fernando Rodney/Brandon League button.

this is not ketel marte hitting an inside the park home run but if it was then holy crap
this is not ketel marte hitting an inside the park home run but if it was then holy crap
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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:

  1. whoa
  2. Ketel Marte is really, really fast
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

All of which is to say nothing about the ball rolling into right before it's eventually caught. So suuuuure, a lot of things had to bounce the right way to have this end up as an in-the-park home run. But on the other hand, Jesus Montero probably strolls into second on this. Speaking of which.............oops.

The Mariners got another one in the sixth after Seth Smith hit a boring dinger, which is very great because boring Seth Smith is just the absolute best Seth Smith one can ask for. Zych, surprisingly, was the one to relieve Miley in the seventh. He immediately gave up a leadoff dinger, but then settled right back down with three quick outs to get out of the inning. Here he is striking out Matt Jones for the first of the inning--he jumps from 83 to 96. Considering what the last paragraph of this is going to say...well...I kind of have to wonder if we have a closer on our hands here.


After Kyle Seager put the M's up a few with a double in the seventh, Steve Cishek came out and had just a hell of a ninth inning today. He walked the leadoff batter, took six pitches to let Charlie Culberson hit a triple, and then gave up two more singles before earning even his first out. Cishek is still sticking with his sinker, and has yet to throw a single pitch faster than 91 miles per hour. This danged bullpen has a lot of work to do, but time is starting to run out, and I think that these jobs are going to solidify pretty dang soon. Until they trade Dae-ho for a reliever, in which case I will stop writing about the Mariners and offer my body as sacrifice to the gods in the wake of it all. Don't say I didn't offer.

Only eight more days until any of this means anything. Not that I'm counting, or anything. 7...6...5...